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Islands: Portraits of Miniature Worlds

Louise B. Young

4 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0716731355 / ISBN 13: 9780716731351
Published by W.H. Freeman & Company
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Wonder Book (Frederick, MD, U.S.A.)

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Islands: Portraits of Miniature Worlds

Publisher: W.H. Freeman & Company

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

About this title

Synopsis:

Describes the history, evolution, geology, and ecology of such islands as Easter Island, the Galapagos islands, Bali, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Crete, and Iceland

Review:

Louise Young, a geophysical scientist, is a lover of islands. Faced with a life-threatening illness 35 years ago, she vowed to throw herself into far-flung travels, to collect exotic places that still "retain a distinctive personality or whose story illuminates a significant aspect of man's relationship with nature."

The fruit of those travels is this fine book of essays, part memoir, part travelogue, part natural-history commentary. Young opens with an overview of island geography, noting the ways in which islands form in geological time and how the mere fact of isolation has both spawned wondrous life forms and inflicted "the unfavorable results of genetic inbreeding," one of the factors responsible for species extinction. She travels to places such as Easter Island, a study in what happens when humans too vigorously disturb ecological balances, in this case through deforestation that resulted in soil erosion and changed climatic conditions; the gold- and spice-rich islands of Indonesia; Mauritius and the Seychelles, the former habitat of the unfortunate dodo and fabulously rare sea coconut tree, which produces the heaviest seeds of any plant in the world; and the Bahamas. Her book, a must for fellow island lovers, closes with a careful examination of the myth of Atlantis, and with a call for humans to be more watchful of sensitive ecosystems everywhere on island Earth. --Gregory McNamee

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