The Sierra Club Wetlands Reader: A Literary Companion

Sam Wilson, Editor, Tom Moritz, Editor Random House (NY) $15 (255p) ISBN 978-0-87156-425-2
Given that wetlands are one of the most biologically diverse habitats, perhaps its fitting that this anthology is as disparate as it is. Excerpts from novels, journals and the Corps of Engineer Wetlands manual accompany newspaper articles, essays, journals, poetry--even an Internet conversation. Some pieces are only obliquely related to wetlands: Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, however much it might refer to some wet land, still seems out of place, as do excerpts from Harriet Beecher Stowe's antislavery novel Dred and an uninspired Zane Grey short story. Thoreau's detailed journal entries about his cranberrying and Aldo Leopold's wonderful account of burying himself in muck to study the shy western grebe are what save the first, more literary part of this anthology. The collection's second half, which is composed of technical pieces on environmental policy and wetlands management, calls into question the choice of the subtitle, ""A Literary Companion."" It would have been worth sacrificing some of the diversity to create a more tightly focused and more inspiring collection. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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