Saturday, March 10, 2007

Waiting for the Macaws and Other Stories from the Age of Extinctions - Terry Glavin

The Basics: Waiting for the Macaws and Other Stories from the Age of Extinctions, Terry Glavin, 2006, 318 pages, hardcover

How I found it: I believe this book was recommended to me by's recommendations service. Or I could have seen it on either the Tyee or the Canadian Geographic book reviews linked below. Either way, it has been on my list of books to read for about a year but I never really got around to it.

What's it about: Glavin is a conservationist and was an early member of Greenpeace. In this book, he travels around the world visiting the habitats of some of the world's extinct or soon to be extinct species to learn about them and the greater picture of increasing global extinctions. Despite his extremist past, Glavin is quite moderate in his attitude. He does really come to any conclusions about what can be done to save any of these animals and seems to have conflicted feelings on the helpfulness of zoos, breeding programs, etc.

Did I like it?: I didn't mind this book, but it took me quite a long time to get through it. Some of the sections were particularly interesting, especially the final section on the Naga people and their unique agricultural practices in India's Eastern Himalayas. Other sections seemed disjointed and convoluted and I wasn't sure how they tied together. Overall, it was an interesting read, but not a terribly good one.

Will you like it?: This is one of those "the sky is falling" environmentalist books that has become so popular lately. However, it is presented in a way that tells the stories behind the statistics, shows us the people, plants and animals that are threatened. That makes the book worthwhile and lends the cause a bit more credence since we can more clearly see the effect we have on our world.

But don't take my word for it: The usual collection of review quotes and descriptions from, a review from the Globe and Mail, one from Vancouver Review, another from The Tyee, one from Canadian Geographic, and finally, the author's blog.

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