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Ecosystems & Habitats

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  1. 9.2 hrs • 8/8/2016 • Unabridged

    Twenty-five years ago they bought a homestead, in the middle of Vancouver Island, on the water’s edge. There are still reflections off the small lake at the foot of Mount Benson- of gardens and vineyards and woodland encounters. Westwood Lake Chronicles is a dreamscape diary, a backyard inventory of life and death in paradise, and the desperate pressures that threaten its existence. Lawrence Winkler has written an anthem to living deliberately with nature, and the virtues of simplicity, self-sufficiency, solitude, and silence. Find refuge.

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    Westwood Lake Chronicles

    9.2 hrs • 8/8/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 12.0 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    The fascinating story of the century-long attempt to control nature in the American wilderness as told through the prism of a tragic death at Yellowstone When twenty-five-year-old Harry Walker was killed by a bear in Yellowstone Park in 1972, the civil trial prompted by his death became a proxy for bigger questions about American wilderness management that had been boiling for a century. At immediate issue was whether the Park Service should have done more to keep bears away from humans, but what was revealed as the trial unfolded was just how fruitless our efforts to regulate nature in the parks had always been. The proceedings drew to the witness stand some of the most important figures in twentieth-century wilderness management, including the eminent zoologist A. Starker Leopold, who had produced a landmark conservationist document in the 1950s, and all-American twin researchers John and Frank Craighead, who ran groundbreaking bear studies at Yellowstone. Their testimonies would help decide whether the government owed the Walker family restitution for Harry’s death, but it would also illuminate decades of patchwork efforts to preserve an idea of nature that had never existed in the first place. In this remarkable excavation of American environmental history, nature writer and former park ranger Jordan Fisher Smith uses the story of one man’s tragic death to tell the larger narrative of the futile, sometimes fatal, attempts to remake wilderness in the name of preserving it. Moving across time and between Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier National Parks, Engineering Eden shows how efforts at wilderness management have always been undone by one fundamental problem—that the idea of what is “natural” dissolves as soon as we begin to examine it, leaving us with little framework to say what wilderness should look like and which human interventions are acceptable in trying to preserve it. In the tradition of John McPhee’s The Control of Nature and Alan Burdick’s Out of Eden, Jordan Fisher Smith has produced a powerful work of popular science and environmental history, grappling with critical issues that we have even now yet to resolve.

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    Engineering Eden by Jordan Fisher Smith

    Engineering Eden

    12.0 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 2.6 hrs • 2/16/2016 • Unabridged

    In this exciting adventure mixed with amazing scientific discovery, a young, exuberant explorer and geoscientist journeys deep into the Amazon—where rivers boil and legends come to life. When Andrés Ruzo was just a small boy in Peru, his grandfather told him the story of a mysterious legend: there is a river, deep in the Amazon, which boils as if a fire burns below it. It was a story that would haunt Ruzo his entire childhood. Twenty years later, Ruzo—now a geoscientist—hears his aunt mention that she herself had visited this strange river. Determined to prove the river must be merely legend, Ruzo sets out on a journey deep into the Amazon. But what he finds astounds him: in this long, wide, and winding river, the waters run so hot that locals brew tea in them; small animals that fall in are instantly cooked. Over the next few years, Ruzo returns again and again, trying to uncover the secret. As he studies alongside the locals, including a shaman that acts as his mentor, Ruzo faces challenges more complex than he had ever imagined. The tangle of competing interests—locals, illegal cattle farmers, logging and oil companies, and government interests—all have a stake in this land where the waters run so hot. The Boiling River follows this young explorer as he navigates scientific, political, and personal obstacles. This true account reads like a modern-day adventure, complete with extraordinary characters, stunning vistas, captivating plot twists, and jaw-dropping details—including stunning photographs and never-before-published research about this incredible natural wonder. Ultimately, though, The Boiling River is about a man trying to understand his moral obligation to protect a sacred site from misuse, neglect, and even from his own discovery.

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    The Boiling River

    2.6 hrs • 2/16/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    7.1 hrs • 11/17/2015 • Unabridged

    As told to journalist Jonathan Franklin in dozens of exclusive interviews, 438 Days is the miraculous account of the man who survived alone and adrift at sea longer than anyone in recorded history. On November 17, 2012, Salvador Alvarenga left the coast of Mexico for a two-day fishing trip. A vicious storm killed his engine and the current dragged his boat out to sea. The storm picked up and blasted him west. When he washed ashore on January 29, 2014, he had arrived in the Marshall Islands, nine thousand miles away—equivalent to traveling from New York to Moscow round trip. For fourteen months, Alvarenga survived constant shark attacks. He learned to catch fish with his bare hands. He built a fish net from a pair of empty plastic bottles. Taking apart the outboard motor, he fashioned a huge fishhook. Using fish vertebrae as needles, he stitched together his own clothes. He considered suicide on multiple occasions—including offering himself up to a pack of sharks. But Alvarenga never failed to invent an alternative reality. He imagined a method of survival that kept his body and mind intact long enough for the Pacific Ocean to toss him up on a remote palm-studded island, where he was saved by a local couple living alone in their own Pacific Island paradise. Based on dozens of hours of interviews with Alvarenga and interviews with his colleagues, search and rescue officials, the medical team that saved his life and the remote islanders who nursed him back to health, 438 Days is an epic tale of survival, an all-true version of the fictional Life of Pi, a study of the resilience, will, ingenuity, and determination required for one man to survive fourteen months lost at sea.

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    438 Days

    7.1 hrs • 11/17/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 0 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5
    6.0 hrs • 8/18/2015 • Unabridged

    David Breashears, the first American to scale Everest twice, was a veteran of nine previous Himalayan filmmaking expeditions when he agreed to lead what became his most challenging filmmaking experience. The expedition was organized by large-format motion picture producer MacGillivray Freeman Films and comprised an international team of climbers. Their goal was to carry a specially modified forty-eight-pound IMAX motion picture camera to the summit of Everest and return from the top of the world with the first footage ever shot there in this spectacular format. A stunningly illustrated portrait of life and death in a hostile, high-altitude environment where no human can survive for long, Everest invites you to join Breashears, his climbers, and his crew as they make photographic history. Author Broughton Coburn traces each step of the team’s progress toward a rendezvous with history—and suddenly you’re on the scene of a disaster that riveted the world’s attention. Everest incorporates a first-person, on-the-scene account of the most tragic event in the mountain’s history: the May 10, 1996, blizzard that claimed eight lives, including two of the world’s top climbing-expedition leaders. It is a chronicle of the courage and cooperation that resulted in the rescue of several men and women who were trapped on the lethal, windswept slopes. Everest is also a tale of triumph. In a struggle to overcome both the physical and emotional effects of the disaster on Everest, Breashears and his team rose to the challenge of achieving their goal—humbled by the mountain’s overwhelming power yet exhilarated by their own accomplishment. Includes a bonus PDF with photographs

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    Everest, Revised & Updated Edition by Broughton Coburn

    Everest, Revised & Updated Edition

    Foreword by Conrad Anker
    Read by Mark Peckham
    6.0 hrs • 8/18/15 • Unabridged
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    7.6 hrs • 4/7/2015 • Unabridged

    Rescue of the Bounty is the harrowing story of the sinking and rescue of Bounty—the tall ship used in the classic 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty—which was caught in the path of Hurricane Sandy with sixteen aboard. On Thursday, October 25, 2012, Captain Robin Walbridge made the fateful decision to sail Bounty from New London, Connecticut, to St. Petersburg, Florida. Walbridge was well aware that a hurricane was forecast to travel north from the Caribbean toward the eastern seaboard. Yet the captain was determined to sail. As he explained to his crew of fifteen: A ship is always safer at sea than in port. He intended to sail “around the hurricane” and told the crew that anyone who did not want to come on the voyage could leave the ship—there would be no hard feelings. As fate would have it, no one took the captain up on his offer. Four days into the voyage, Superstorm Sandy made an almost direct hit on Bounty. The vessel’s failing pumps could not keep up with the incoming water. The ship began to lose power as it was beaten and rocked by hurricane winds that spanned eight hundred miles. A few hours later, in the dark of night, the ship suddenly overturned ninety miles off the North Carolina coast in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” sending the crew tumbling into an ocean filled with towering thirty-foot waves. The Coast Guard then launched one of the most complex and massive rescues in its history, flying two Jayhawk helicopter crews into the hurricane and lowering rescue swimmers into the raging seas again and again, despite the danger to their own lives. In the uproar heard across American media in the days following, a single question persisted: Why did the captain decide to sail? Through hundreds of hours of interviews with the crew members, their families, and the Coast Guard, the masterful duo of Michael J. Tougias and Douglas A. Campbell creates an in-depth portrait of the enigmatic Captain Walbridge, his motivations, and what truly occurred aboard Bounty during those terrifying days at sea. Dripping with suspense and vivid high-stakes drama, Rescue of the Bounty is an unforgettable tale about the brutality of nature and the human will to survive.

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    Rescue of the Bounty by Michael J. Tougias, Douglas A. Campbell

    Rescue of the Bounty

    7.6 hrs • 4/7/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 6.1 hrs • 3/30/2015 • Unabridged

    Mine might have been a simple, pretty story, if not for the wolves. In late July, they emerged from the foothills. In this gripping memoir of a young man, a wolf, their parallel lives, and their ultimate collision, Bryce Andrews describes life on the remote, windswept Sun Ranch in southwest Montana. The Sun’s 20,000 acres of rangeland occupy a still-wild corner of southwest Montana—a high valley surrounded by mountain ranges and steep creeks with portentous names like Grizzly, Dead Man, and Bad Luck. Just over the border from Yellowstone National Park, the Sun holds giant herds of cattle and elk amid many predators, including bears, mountain lions, and wolves. In lyrical, haunting language, Andrews recounts marathon days and nights of building fences, riding, roping, and otherwise learning the hard business of caring for cattle, an initiation that changes him from an idealistic city kid into a skilled ranch hand. But when wolves suddenly begin killing the ranch’s cattle, Andrews has to shoulder a rifle, chase the pack, and do what he’d hoped he would never have to do. Badluck Way is about transformation, complications, and living with dirty hands every day. It is about the hard choices that wake us at night and take a lifetime to reconcile. Above all, Badluck Way celebrates the breathtaking beauty of wilderness and the satisfaction of hard work on some of the harshest, most beautiful land in the world. Badluck Way is the memorable story of one young man’s rebirth in the crucible of the West’s timeless landscape, a place at the center of the heart’s geography, savage and gorgeous in equal measure.

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    Badluck Way

    6.1 hrs • 3/30/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 7.4 hrs • 12/12/2014 • Unabridged

    William Henry Hudson was a founding member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Though born in Argentina, Hudson came to England in 1874, where he remained until his death in 1922. Absorbed by nature, and in particular by the lives and activities of birds, his acute observations on wildlife led to a series of charming books which helped establish the pastime of bird watching. Birds in Town and Village is one of his classics—a truly engaging rumination on birds as he watched them go about their daily lives.

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    Birds in Town and Village

    7.4 hrs • 12/12/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 9.0 hrs • 3/4/2014 • Unabridged

    Boyd Varty had an unconventional upbringing. He grew up on Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, a place where man and nature strive for balance, where perils exist alongside wonders. Founded more than eighty years ago as a hunting ground, Londolozi was transformed into a nature reserve beginning in 1973 by Varty’s father and uncle, visionaries of the restoration movement. But it wasn’t just a sanctuary for the animals; it was also a place for ravaged land to flourish again and for the human spirit to be restored. When Nelson Mandela was released after twenty-seven years of imprisonment, he came to the reserve to recover. Cathedral of the Wild is Varty’s memoir of his life in this exquisite and vast refuge. At Londolozi, Varty gained the confidence that emerges from living in Africa. “We came out strong and largely unafraid of life,” he writes, “with the full knowledge of its dangers.” It was there that young Boyd and his equally adventurous sister learned to track animals, raised leopard and lion cubs, followed their larger-than-life uncle on his many adventures filming wildlife, and became one with the land. Varty survived a harrowing black mamba encounter, a debilitating bout with malaria, even a vicious crocodile attack, but his biggest challenge was a personal crisis of purpose. An intense spiritual quest takes him across the globe and back again—to reconnect with nature and “rediscover the track.”  Cathedral of the Wild is a story of transformation that inspires a great appreciation for the beauty and order of the natural world. With conviction, hope, and humor, Varty makes a passionate claim for the power of the wild to restore the human spirit.

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    Cathedral of the Wild

    9.0 hrs • 3/4/14 • Unabridged
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  10. 11.9 hrs • 11/14/2013 • Unabridged

    William W. Warner exhibits his skill as a naturalist and as a writer in this Pulitzer Prize–winning study of the pugnacious Atlantic blue crab and of its Chesapeake Bay territory.

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    Beautiful Swimmers

    11.9 hrs • 11/14/13 • Unabridged
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  11. 18.2 hrs • 10/20/2013 • Unabridged

    A wild epic journey by an American physician and two Inuit companions who successfully struggle to be the first humans to reach the North Pole. The adventure continues with a year-long, perilous journey back to civilization. The true story concludes with the angry wrath of the establishment, when it is discovered that three men with simple tools accomplished this near impossible feat before a well-financed and government-backed explorer did. Listen as Dr. Frederick Albert Cook, a respected physician and experienced explorer, tells you how he became the first man to reach the North Pole on April 21, 1908.

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  12. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    10.2 hrs • 7/16/2013 • Unabridged

    Into the Wild meets Helter Skelter in this riveting true story of a modern-day homesteading family in the Alaskan wilderness—and of its chilling secrets. When Papa Pilgrim appeared in the Alaska frontier outpost of McCarthy with his wife and fifteen children in tow, his new neighbors had little idea of the trouble to come. The Pilgrim family presented themselves as a shining example of the homespun Christian ideal, with their proud piety and beautiful old-time music, but their true story ran dark and deep. Within weeks, Papa had bulldozed a road through the mountains to the new family home at an abandoned copper mine, sparking a tense confrontation with the National Park Service and forcing his ghost-town neighbors to take sides in an evermore volatile battle in which a citizen’s rights end and the government’s power begins. In Pilgrim’s Wilderness, veteran Alaska journalist Tom Kizzia unfolds the remarkable, at times harrowing, story of a charismatic spinner of American myths who was not what he seemed, the townspeople caught in his thrall, and the family he brought to the brink of ruin. As Kizzia discovered, Papa Pilgrim was in fact the son of a rich Texas family with ties to Hoover’s FBI and strange, oblique connections to the Kennedy assassination and the movie stars of Easy Rider. And as his fight with the government in Alaska grew more intense, the turmoil in his brood made it increasingly difficult to tell whether his children were messianic followers or hostages in desperate need of rescue.  In this powerful piece of Americana, written with uncommon grace and high drama, Kizzia uses his unparalleled access to capture an era-defining clash between environmentalists and pioneers ignited by a mesmerizing sociopath who held a town and a family captive.

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    Pilgrim’s Wilderness

    10.2 hrs • 7/16/13 • Unabridged
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  13. 0.5 hrs • 6/7/2013 • Unabridged

    Richard Jefferies remains one of the most thoughtful and most lyrical writers on the English countryside. Best known for his articles and stories published in the Live Stock Journal, he draws from a wealth of knowledge of the rural community into which he had been born. Here he examines the habitats of the Downs and the birds and animals that live there. Written in Jefferies’ highly descriptive style, the essay conveys a sense of wonder evoked by the natural world. Proceeds from sale of this title go to Reach Out and Read, an innovative literacy advocacy organization.

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  14. 4.7 hrs • 9/15/2012 • Unabridged

    A tall ship is trapped on a sandbar in 1885, broadsided by heavy seas and doomed to destruction on a lonely Brazilian beach. Thus begins of an incredible sea adventure by a North American sea captain, his wife, and two sons. To return his family to safety, Captain Joshua Slocum builds a new boat out of the wreckage of the old. With his family he sails along the perilous South American coast, crosses the Caribbean Sea, and navigates up the waters of United States to Washington, DC.  The Voyage of the Liberdade is a first person telling of this exciting true adventure. This recording includes two additional true adventures written by Captain Slocum never before recorded: “Rescue of Some Gilbert Islanders” and “The Voyage of the ‘Destroyer’ from New York to Brazil,” his perilous piloting of a leaking, worn out battle ship, sold by the United States to the Brazilian Navy.

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  15. 5.5 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    In this groundbreaking book, the New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Green Book Thomas M. Kostigen reveals the vital missing link in today’s environmental crisis: how we as individuals are connected to the most tenuous geography on the planet. Despite the recent prominence of “green” issues in the news, the direct relationship between our actions and the earth is too often ignored. But the seemingly insignificant things we do every day have the power to literally alter the landscape in the ongoing battle to resuscitate the planet. There are living narratives of climate change that reveal the consequences of our everyday actions. You Are Here allows us to both comprehend and care about what’s happening in these encampments of ruin. Kostigen shows us what may well be a glimpse of our future in Linfen City, China, one of the most polluted places on the planet. From a garbage patch twice the size of Texas in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, to the melting arctic ice shelf, to the flood zone that is Mumbai, India, to the dwindling rainforests of the Amazon, You Are Here describes the environmental crisis in a way we can feel, see, and touch. Kostigen presents us with opportunities for change and shows us how to take action on the spot, wherever we are. Combining groundbreaking research and page-turning frontline reporting, Kostigen pulls back the curtain on the most pressing and provocative issues of the day and in so doing we see the earth and our place on it in a brand new light.

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    You Are Here

    Foreword by Kevin Bacon
    5.5 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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    5.9 hrs • 4/1/2012 • Unabridged

    In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor’easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril, setting the stage for one of the most heroic rescue stories ever lived. On February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, were in the same horrifying predicament. Built with “dirty steel,” and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic’s mercy. The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in a terrifying battle for survival.  Not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it’s a miracle—and a testament to their bravery—that any at all came home to tell their tales.

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    The Finest Hours by Michael J. Tougias, Casey Sherman

    The Finest Hours

    5.9 hrs • 4/1/12 • Unabridged
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