cover image CALLED BY THE WILD: An Autobiography of a Conservationist

CALLED BY THE WILD: An Autobiography of a Conservationist

Raymond Fredric Dasmann, , foreword by Paul R. Ehrlich. . Univ. of California, $27.50 (269pp) ISBN 978-0-520-22978-5

Full of disarming personal anecdotes, Dasmann's (Environmental Conservation) memoir is both an absorbing account of a pioneering career in environmental conservation and a charming love story. Born in 1919, his father a recent victim of the pandemic Spanish Flu, the author comes of age in San Francisco. He recalls his growing interest in the nascent fields of ecology and environmental biology, his active duty in the Pacific during World War II, and the many adventures of his 53-year marriage. As a member of the vanguard of scientists warning about human overpopulation and consequent depredation of the planet, the author speaks with an authority born of decades of study, university teaching, and active involvement in international agencies dedicated to husbanding the earth's natural resources. What distinguishes this writer from many of his environmentalist peers is his willingness to admit that he does not have all the answers to the vexing ecological questions of our times. Dasmann addresses the tension between environmental responsibility and human material desires without sanctimony, making this a winning memoir for anyone interested in ecology. (Mar.)