6 x 9
6 x 9
Edward O. Wilson – University Professor at Harvard, winner of two Pulitzer prizes, eloquent champion of biodiversity – is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. His career represents both a blueprint and a challenge to those who seek to explore the frontiers of scientific understanding. Yet, until now, little has been told of his life and of the important events that have shaped his thought.
In Naturalist, Wilson describes for the first time both his growth as a scientist and the evolution of the science he has helped define. He traces the trajectory of his life – from a childhood spent exploring the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Florida to life as a tenured professor at Harvard – detailing how his youthful fascination with nature blossomed into a lifelong calling. He recounts with drama and wit the adventures of his days as a student at the University of Alabama and his four decades at Harvard University, where he has achieved renown as both teacher and researcher.
As the narrative of Wilson's life unfolds, the reader is treated to an inside look at the origin and development of ideas that guide today's biological research. Theories that are now widely accepted in the scientific world were once untested hypotheses emerging from one mans's broad-gauged studies. Throughout Naturalist, we see Wilson's mind and energies constantly striving to help establish many of the central principles of the field of evolutionary biology.
The story of Wilson's life provides fascinating insights into the making of a scientist, and a valuable look at some of the most thought-provoking ideas of our time.
"Naturalist reads like a classic hero's tale."
"[Naturalist] is one of the finest scientific memoirs ever written, by one of the finest scientists writing today."
Los Angeles Times
"The book to read, to get the full story on Mr. Wilson’s eventful life, is his memoir Naturalist, published in 1994."
New York Times
"A wise personal memoir…. A mixture of loneliness, amusement, curiosity and intellectual rigor makes the voice of this thoughtful man unforgettable."
New York Times Book Review
"Wilson is the grand master of lyrically analytic nature writing."
"This memoir, a fitting capstone to an extraordinary career, should inspire yet another generation of scientists to explore the natural world."
"Vividly, often beautifully written. Wilson emerges not only as a gifted scientist, but also as a likable, passionate, eloquent person."
New York Review of Books
"In this exquisitely written memoir, the famed Harvard scientist looks back at his childhood in the South as well as his career as a groundbreaking thinker in the field of evolutionary biology. Truly, here is the irrefutable proof that scientists have souls."
The USA Today
PART I. Daybreak in Alabama
Chapter 1. Paradise Beach
Chapter 2. Send Us the Boy
Chapter 3. A Light in the Corner
Chapter 4. A Magic Kingdom
Chapter 5. To Do My Duty
Chapter 6. Alabama Dreaming
Chapter 7. The Hunters
Chapter 8. Good-Bye to the South
Chapter 9. Orizaba
PART II. Storyteller
Chapter 10. The South Pacific
Chapter 11. The Forms of Things Unknown
Chapter 12. The Molecular Wars
Chapter 13. Islands Are the Key
Chapter 14. The Florida Keys Experiment
Chapter 15. Ants
Chapter 16. Attaining Sociobiology
Chapter 17. The Sociobiology Controversy
Chapter 18. Biodiversity, Biophilia
Naturalist was a finalist in the 1995 Benjamin Franklin Award's autobiography/biography/memoirs category.
This holiday season, give the gift of an Island Press book. With a catalog of more than 1,000 books, we guarantee there's something for everyone on your shopping list. Check out our list of staff selections, and share your own ideas in the comments below.
For the OUTDOORSPERSON in your life:
Water is for Fighting Over...and Other Myths about Water in the West by John Fleck
Anyone who has ever rafted down the Colorado, spent a starlit night on its banks, or even drank from a faucet in the western US needs Water is for Fighting Over. Longtime journalist John Fleck will give the outdoors lover in your life a new appreciation for this amazing river and the people who work to conserve it. This book is a gift of hope for the New Year.
Satellites in the High Country: Searching for the Wild in the Age of Man by Jason Mark
Do you constantly find your friend waxing poetic about their camping tales and their intimate connection to the peaceful, yet mysterious powers of nature? Sounds like they will relate to Jason Mark’s tales of his expeditions across a multitude of American landscapes, as told in Satellites in the High Country. More than a collection of stories, this narrative demonstrates the power of nature’s wildness and explores what the concept of wild has come to mean in this Human Age.
What Should a Clever Moose Eat?: Natural History, Ecology, and the North Woods by John Pastor
Is the outdoorsperson in your life all dressed up in boots, parka, and backpack with nowhere to go? Looking for meaning in another titanium French press coffeemaker for the camp stove? What Should a Clever Moose Eat leaves the technogadgets behind and reminds us that all we really need to bring to the woods when we venture out is a curious mind and the ability to ask a good question about the natural world around us. Such as, why do leaves die? What do pine cones have to do with the shape of a bird’s beak? And, how are blowflies important to skunk cabbage? A few quality hours among its pages will equip your outdoor enthusiast to venture forth and view nature with new appreciation, whether in the North Woods with ecologist John Pastor or a natural ecosystem closer to home.
Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change by Yoram Bauman
This holiday season, give your favorite climate-denier a passive aggressive “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” with The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change featuring self –described Stand-up Economist Yoram Bauman and award-winning illustrator Grady Klein. Give the gift of fun, entertaining basic understanding of what is, undeniably and not up for subjective debate, scientific fact!
For the HEALTH NUT in your life:
Unnatural Selection: How We Are Changing Life, Gene by Gene by Emily Monosson
Give the health nut in your life the gift of understanding with Unnatural Selection. Your friends and family will discover how chemicals are changing life on earth and how we can protect it. Plus, they’ll read fascinating stories about the search for a universal vaccine, the attack of relentless bedbugs, and a miracle cancer drug that saved a young father’s life.
For the ADVOCATE in your life:
Prospects for Resilience: Insights from New York City's Jamaica Bay by Sanderson, et. al
Need an antidote to the doom and gloom? Stressed-out environmental advocates will appreciate Prospects for Resilience: Insights from New York City's Jamaica Bay. It’s a deep dive into one of the most important questions of our time: how can we create cities where people and nature thrive together? Prospects for Resilience showcases successful efforts to restore New York’s much abused Jamaica Bay, but its lessons apply to any communities seeking to become more resilient in a turbulent world.
Ecological Economics by Josh Farley and Herman Daly
Blow the mind of the advocate in your life with a copy of Ecological Economics by the godfather of ecological economics, Herman Daly, and Josh Farley. In plain, and sometimes humorous English, they’ll come to understand how our current economic system does not play by the same laws that govern nearly every other system known to humankind—that is, the laws of thermodynamics. Given recent financial and political events, there’s a message of hope within the book as it lays out specific policy and social change frameworks.
For the CRAZY CAT PERSON in your life:
An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz
The cat lovers in your life will lose themselves in An Indomitable Beast, an illuminating story about the journey of the jaguar. This is the perfect book for any of your feline loving friends, whether they want to pursue adventure with the big cats of the wild, or stay home with a book and cup of tea.
For the GARDENER in your life:
Wild by Design: Strategies for Creating Life-Enhancing Landscapes by Margie Ruddick
Give your favorite gardener an antidote to the winter blues. The lush photographs of Wild by Design, and inspirational advice on cultivating landscapes in tune with nature, transport readers to spectacular parks, gardens, and far-flung forests. This book is guaranteed to be well-thumbed and underlined by the time spring planting season arrives!
For the STUBBORN RELATIVE in your life:
Common Ground on Hostile Turf: Stories from an Environmental Mediator by Lucy Moore
For the person keeping the peace in your family this holiday season, the perfect gift is Common Ground on Hostile Turf, an inspiring how to guide demonstrating it is possible to bring vastly different views together. This book gives lessons learned on setting down at the table with the most diverse set of players and the journey they take to find common grounds and results. If your holiday dinner needs some mediation, look to the advice of author Lucy Moore.
Also consider: Communication Skills for Conservation Professionals by Susan Jacobson, Communicating Nature by Julia Corbett
For the HISTORY BUFF in your life:
The Past and Future City: How Historic Preservation is Reviving America's Communities by Stephanie Meeks with Kevin C. Murphy
When it comes to the the future of our cities, the secret to urban revival lies in our past. Tickle the fancy of your favorite history buff by sharing The Past and Future City, which takes readers on a journey through our country's historic spaces to explain why preservation is important for all communities. With passion and expert insight, this book shows how historic spaces explain our past and serve as the foundation of our future.
For the BUSINESS PERSON in your life:
Nature's Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature by Mark Tercek
For the aspiring CEO in your life who drools at phrases like "rates of return" and "investment," share the gift of Nature's Fortune, an essential guide to the world's economic (and environmental) well-being.
Katharine is the Publicity & Marketing Associate at Island Press.
The graphic adaptation of Naturalist, renowned scientist E.O. Wilson’s autobiography, has been in the works a long time, long before my internship at Island Press. Stops and starts have kept the project from moving ahead such that Ed himself has turned almost 90 years old! When I arrived at Island Press for the summer, though, it looked like—due to the hard work of everyone on the project—the pace was picking up again.
The lead editor Rebecca Bright asked me within a few weeks of my arrival to help research reference images for the graphic artist to use when drawing people in Ed’s life. I saw I was instantly valued by Island Press, and a project on my periphery became my main focus for a busy week that took me out of the office and into the heart of DC. For two full days I had the amazing opportunity to conduct research for Island Press at the Library of Congress.
When I arrived the first morning I got a library card, a seemingly mundane task for such a grand place. Then, after a few more bureaucratic tasks, I was sitting down in the manuscript room of the James Madison Building, waiting as an archivist hurried off to find the boxes of Ed’s notes and photos of his life. When they arrived, I started in his early days as a young man in the 1950s and watched him grow older as I flipped through folder after folder. Along the way I noted and took pictures with my phone of anything that might help the graphic artist capture Ed’s life—photos of family, friends, and important moments. I took almost 70 photos of photos.
The research was fascinating. Along the way I held a typewritten page for the first time, squinted at photo negatives, and watched as Ed examined ants and received medals. It offered me a personal look into the past even as I did research for a future book.
I was so lucky to arrive at Island Press at a time when such an interesting project was coming to fruition and to be able to help Becca with the research. My time at the Library of Congress taught me how to be a discerning researcher and provided me with an unforgettable experience on the Island Press team.
Julia Steffy was the summer 2018 editorial intern and is currently a rising junior at Villanova University.