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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Nature Photography

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October 14, 2009

Book Roundup Wednesday: Nature Photography

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending nature photography books.

The New Earth from Above: 365 Days (by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, $30, Abrams, Oct. 2009): Photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand continues his Earth from Above series with striking new photos of beautiful places around the world. Each month is organized by topic with a mini-essay introduction. Photo captions are well-written and provide just enough for readers to be satisfied. 

The Life and Love of Trees (by Lewis Blackwell, $50, Chronicle, Oct. 2009): Lewis Blackwell worships trees, and not just your standard, run-of-the-mill trees. He loves the baobabs of Madagascar, swamp cypresses in the southeast, and the lace bark of a pine tree. In this book, he shares one of the world’s most precious resources and writes poetically about his adoration. But the message here is subtle; he lets the trees speak for themselves.

Nature’s Great Events (edited by Karen Bass, $40, University of Chicago Press, Mar. 2009): A follow-up to Planet Earth, Natures’ Great Events chronicles six important events in the planet's natural history, including the great salmon run of British Columbia, the melting of the ice caps, and the great migration of African animals in the Serengeti. This documentary book narrates each event in a poignant, straightforward manner, much like the original TV series. And the photos, which have the feel of a live-action nature show, are arresting: snow geese in flight, lions attacking zebras, and bears tearing apart salmon.

Sanctuary: Global Oases of Innocence (by Michael Tobias and Jane Morrison, $60, Council Oak Books, 2008): Sanctuaries around the world protect endangered animals from harm. This book provides detailed accounts of 20 such places located in as many countries. The photos and essays aren't just about the animals, but also the people who save them, such as Dr. Biruté Galdikas, who  works with orangutans in Borneo. Throughout the book, the photography is spectacular.

Enchanted by Prairie (by Bill Witt and Osha Gray Davidson, $30, University of Iowa Press, June 2009): Flip through this book to be transported to the grasslands and prairies of Iowa. Photographer Bill Witt hopes readers will be as enchanted with the land as he was when he first discovered this nature oasis. In the concluding essay, there's a reminder that protecting open space is important for preserving our spiritual and historical connections to the earth.

--Julie Littman

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