Review: On the Dark Side of the Moon: A Journey Toward Recovery

On the Dark Side of the Moon: A Journey Toward Recovery : by Mike Medberry First: it’s hard to imagine Medberry lying on the hot black lava rock of Craters for 7 hours before a helicopter is able to airlift him to medical care, but that’s where the book starts us. It’s enough to make a person cringe, let alone any EMT or medical student who knows that for brain injury or trauma, a few minutes can be critical to a positive recovery. It’s fascinating too that the stroke occurs in the very park Medberry will cheer for as President Bill Clinton in November of 2000 signs the proclamation that makes final the expansion increasing the protected land to 737,000 acres, “nearly 14 times its previous size.”

Review: Touring the Eastern Old Growth

Among the Ancients: Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests, by Joan Maloof : Reviewed by Andrew C. Gottlieb Joan Maloof’s latest book, Among the Ancients, is an enjoyable, informed, readable genre-collage that takes readers to what will most likely be unfamiliar territory: Eastern United States old-growth forest. It’s easy to consider “old-growth” as synonymous with Redwood and Sequoia National Parks, with the gigantic Douglas firs of the Pacific Northwest, with Washington State’s Olympic National Forest. After all, isn’t that what we’re talking about? Huge, old unlogged trees in a few national parks? In her preface, Maloof tells us that Maurice Schwartz of the United Nations Forestry Division at one point found 98 different definitions of the term. So, old growth isn’t just giant, and it’s not just 1,000 years old. It’s really a section of forest where trees—even small ones, high-altitude pines—have been left to grow through a natural life-cycle, a cycle that increases the biodiversity of the forest itself. Maloof takes us on her journey to forests small and large in each of the 26 states east of the Mississippi, most of which contain trees that for some reason—activist or accident—were not logged early last century when the eastern part of the United States was mown like a lawn for timber during the industrial development of the timber industry and the nation’s building and population expansion. But these aren’t redwoods. Tulip poplars, buckeyes, poisonwood trees, oak, hickory, maple. “No matter where you live in the East, there is an old-growth forest you can reach in a day,” she tells us.

Commentary: Locating David Gessner (Reviewing Gessner’s The Tarball Chronicles)

The Tarball Chronicles, by David Gessner : Reviewed by Frank Izaguirre I have a complicated relationship with David Gessner’s writing the same way he has a complicated relationship with being a nature writer. On the one hand, I appreciate his self-appointed status as a watchdog for stereotypical environmentalists, and on the other I find it a bit weird that probably his best known book was written for an audience of mostly nature writers just to notify them that they’re uncool and need to drink beer in order to stop being uncool. I enjoy a nature writer who’s at least as eager to commune with people as animals. I’m also a little worried about his drinking. Can’t tell if that’s what he wants. Regardless, the man’s writing at an impressive clip these days, publishing a book each of the last two years. The Tarball Chronicles, his latest,is a travelogue/meditation on the Gulf oil spill and what it means for the region, our country, and even the world. We join Gessner on his haphazard and unplanned journey, meeting endearing locals and emblematic wildlife; and we get a closeup of how a corporation can shush away all problems by whispering dollars.