Natural History
The Mexican Treasury: The Writings of Dr. Francisco Hernández
The Mexican Treasury
The Writings of Dr. Francisco Hernández
Hardcover      ISBN: 0804739633

This volume consists of a selection of English translations from the extensive writings of Dr. Francisco Hern ndez (1515-87). Celebrated in his own day as one of Spain's leading physicians and naturalists, he is now best remembered for his monumental work on the native plants and materia medica of central Mexico.

Sent to New Spain in 1570 by King Philip II to research and describe the natural history of the region, to assess the medical usefulness of the natural resources, and to gather ethnographic materials for an anthropological history, Hern ndez was the first trained scientist to undertake scientific work in the New World. For seven years he gathered information throughout the Valley of Mexico, learning Nahuatl, recording local medical customs, studying indigenous medicines, and writing down all his observations. The result was The Natural History of New Spain, written in Latin, which consisted of six folio volumes filled with descriptions of over 3,000 plants previously unknown in Europe (along with descriptions of a much smaller number of animals and minerals) and ten folio volumes of paintings by Mexican artists illustrating the plants and animals he described.

Hern ndez died before he could publish his Natural History, and the materials were placed in the Escorial, where they were extensively consulted, copied, abstracted, and translated by generations of scientists, medical specialists, and natural philosophers before they were destroyed by fire in 1671. Hern ndez's work was still regarded as authoritative on a number of New World botanical topics as late as the nineteenth century, and his writings remain in use in popular form in Mexico today.

Only a tiny fragment of the Natural History has previously appeared in English. The selections in this volume are designed to reflect the historical patterns of dissemination of the work of Hern ndez, giving modern readers a sense of which portions of his vast corpus entered scientific discourse and spread across two continents in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Mice in the Freezer, Owls on the Porch: The Lives of Naturalists Frederick and Francis Hamerstrom
Mice in the Freezer, Owls on the Porch
The Lives of Naturalists Frederick and Francis Hamerstrom
Paperback      ISBN: 0299180948

This book examines two forms of Roman institutional' violence:
gladitorial combat and political suicide, attempting to explain
and correlate the social and psychological significance of these
phenomena.

Milwaukee County's Oak Leaf Trail: A History
Milwaukee County's Oak Leaf Trail
A History
Paperback      ISBN: 1467140686

Milwaukee loves the Oak Leaf Trail, a 125-mile path connecting the major Milwaukee County parks. But many don't know the history behind the trail.


Believing parks to be the "lungs of the people," long-range thinkers like Charles Whitnall advocated for the verdant spaces the trail would later snake through. To promote biking as an alternative to precious gasoline during wartime, Harold "Zip" Morgan designed a route that 1960s riders built on. Years later, bicycling enthusiasts worked overtime with local leadership to get a 76-mile route ready for the country's bicentennial, creating the beloved 76 Bike Trail. Join local author Jill Rothenbueler Maher as she uncovers the previously untold stories of a Milwaukee County treasure.

Minnesota's Natural Heritage: An Ecological Perspective
Minnesota's Natural Heritage
An Ecological Perspective
Hardcover      ISBN: 0816621330

A thorough examination of the state's landscape, climate, and weather as well as its diverse ecosystems including deciduous and coniferous forests, tallgrass prairie, wetlands, lakes, and streams and rivers. Also details the plant and animal life of the region. Lavishly illustrated with 130 color ph

Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster
Mississippi River Tragedies
A Century of Unnatural Disaster
Hardcover      ISBN: 1479825387

Read a free excerpt here

American engineers have done astounding things to bend the Mississippi River to their will: forcing one of its tributaries to flow uphill, transforming over a thousand miles of roiling currents into a placid staircase of water, and wresting the lower half of the river apart from its floodplain. American law has aided and abetted these feats. But despite our best efforts, so-called "natural disasters" continue to strike the Mississippi basin, as raging floodwaters decimate waterfront communities and abandoned towns literally crumble into the Gulf of Mexico. In some places, only the tombstones remain, leaning at odd angles as the underlying soil erodes away. Mississippi River Tragedies reveals that it is seductively deceptive--but horribly misleading--to call such catastrophes "natural."


Authors Christine A. Klein and Sandra B. Zellmer present a sympathetic account of the human dreams, pride, and foibles that got us to this point, weaving together engaging historical narratives and accessible law stories drawn from actual courtroom dramas. The authors deftly uncover the larger story of how the law reflects and even amplifies our ambivalent attitude toward nature--simultaneously revering wild rivers and places for what they are, while working feverishly to change them into something else. Despite their sobering revelations, the authors' final message is one of hope. Although the acknowledgement of human responsibility for unnatural disasters can lead to blame, guilt, and liability, it can also prod us to confront the consequences of our actions, leading to a liberating sense of possibility and to the knowledge necessary to avoid future disasters.

Modern Science and the Capriciousness of Nature
Modern Science and the Capriciousness of Nature
Hardcover      ISBN: 1403989672

Natural disasters remind us of the capricious power of Nature. This book questions the way that modern science and technology are represented as the means to liberate human beings from the arbitrary natural imposition of forces beyond our control. Modern science is implicated in a societal gamble on the construction of a technological society to replace the natural world with a supposedly better artificial one. The author questions the rationality of this societal gamble and its implications for our lives.

Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind
Monster of God
The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind
Paperback      ISBN: 0393326098

For millennia, lions, tigers, and their man-eating kin have kept our dark, scary forests dark and scary, and their predatory majesty has been the stuff of folklore. But by the year 2150 big predators may only exist on the other side of glass barriers and chain-link fences. Their gradual disappearance is changing the very nature of our existence. We no longer occupy an intermediate position on the food chain; instead we survey it invulnerably from above--so far above that we are in danger of forgetting that we even belong to an ecosystem.

Casting his expert eye over the rapidly diminishing areas of wilderness where predators still reign, the award-winning author of The Song of the Dodo and The Tangled Tree examines the fate of lions in India's Gir forest, of saltwater crocodiles in northern Australia, of brown bears in the mountains of Romania, and of Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East. In the poignant and troublesome ferocity of these embattled creatures, we recognize something primeval deep within us, something in danger of vanishing forever.

Montana's Pioneer Naturalist: Morton J. Elrod
Montana's Pioneer Naturalist
Morton J. Elrod
Hardcover      ISBN: 0806154365

A naturalist on Montana's academic frontier, passionate conservationist Morton J. Elrod was instrumental in establishing the Department of Biology at the University of Montana, as well as Glacier National Park and the National Bison Range. In Montana's Pioneer Naturalist, the first in-depth assessment of Elrod's career, George M. Dennison reveals how one man helped to shape the scholarly study of nature and its institutionalization in the West at the turn of the century.

Elrod moved to Missoula in 1897, just four years after the state university's founding, and participated in virtually every aspect of university life for almost forty years. To reveal the depths of this pioneer scientist's influence on the growth of his university, his state, and the academic fields he worked in, author George M. Dennison delves into state and university archives, including Elrod's personal papers. Although Elrod was an active participant in bison conservation and the growth of the National Park Naturalist Service, much of his work focused on Flathead Lake, where he surveyed local life forms and initiated the university's biological station--one of the first of its kind in the United States. Yet at heart Elrod was an educator who desired to foster in his students a "love of nature," which, he said, "should give health to any one, and supply knowledge of greatest value, either to the individual or to society, or to both."

In this biography of a prominent scientist now almost forgotten, Dennison--longtime president of the University of Montana--demonstrates how Elrod's scholarship and philosophy regarding science and nature made him one of Montana's most distinguished naturalists, conservationists, and educators.
More Readings from One Man's Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke
More Readings from One Man's Wilderness
The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke
Paperback      ISBN: 1616085541

Throughout history, many people have escaped to nature either permanently or temporarily to rest and recharge. Richard L. Proenneke, a modern-day Henry David Thoreau, is no exception. Proenneke built a cabin in Twin Lakes, Alaska in 1968 and began thirty years of personal growth, which he spent growing more connected to the wilderness in which he lived. This guide through Proenneke's memories follows the journey that began with One Man's Wilderness, which contains some of Proenneke's journals. It continues the story and reflections of this mountain man and his time in Alaska.

The editor, John Branson, was a longtime friend of Proenneke's and a park historian. He takes care that Proenneke's journals from 1974-1980 are kept exactly as the author wrote them.

Branson's footnotes give a background and a new understanding to the reader without detracting from Proenneke's style. Anyone with an interest in conservation and genuine wilderness narratives will surely enjoy and treasure this book.

Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians
Mountain Nature
A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians
Paperback      ISBN: 0807871168

The Southern Appalachians are home to a breathtakingly diverse array of living things--from delicate orchids to carnivorous pitcher plants, from migrating butterflies to flying squirrels, and from brawny black bears to more species of salamander than anywhere else in the world. Mountain Nature is a lively and engaging account of the ecology of this remarkable region. It explores the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachians and the webs of interdependence that connect them.

Within the region's roughly 35 million acres, extending from north Georgia through the Carolinas to northern Virginia, exists a mosaic of habitats, each fostering its own unique natural community. Stories of the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachians are intertwined with descriptions of the seasons, giving readers a glimpse into the interlinked rhythms of nature, from daily and yearly cycles to long-term geological changes. Residents and visitors to Great Smoky Mountains or Shenandoah National Parks, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or any of the national forests or other natural attractions within the region will welcome this appealing introduction to its ecological wonders.