cover image A Biologist’s Walk Through Gorongosa National Park

A Biologist’s Walk Through Gorongosa National Park

Edward O. Wilson, photographs by Piotr Naskrecki. Simon & Schuster, $30 (228p) ISBN 978-1-4767-4741-5

Wilson (Letters to a Young Scientist) presents a lyrical ode to biodiversity within the framework of a memoir of his work in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, helping to rebuild it from the loss of nearly all of its megafauna as it was neglected, repurposed as a battleground, and destroyed by poachers during the 16-year civil war. Wilson speaks with passion throughout, whether decoding evidence of our ancestors in Africa, expressing admiration of his professional peers, detailing the joy of everyday people cataloguing bugs in a “bioblitz,” diving into the details of eternal ant wars, or simply describing the preserve’s beauty with just the right amount of sentimentality. Nasrecki’s lush landscapes, elephant and primate portraits, and bright, strangely charismatic insect close-ups enliven every spread, making this volume’s visual content as remarkable as the stories. With the success of the Gorongosa project as his example, Wilson makes a persuasive plea for reserving large areas of the Earth as sanctuaries for not only the big predators, but for the tiny species, too numerous to even have been documented, that live in micro-niches in our wildest areas. Color photos. (May)