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The Suburban Wild

The Suburban Wild
Peter Friederici
Athens: University of Georgia Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 125 p., $22.95

"There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot." — Aldo Leopold, foreword to A Sand County Almanac, 4 March 1948.

If Aldo Leopold were alive today, he might well use his own words to describe this marvelous collection by his worthy successor, the biologist Peter Friederici. The author grew up in a riparian home on the Lake Michigan shore in Highland Park. He shows those of us who live in this area how to perceive and understand natural survivors and malefactors, human and otherwise, who have impacted, altered and destroyed the natural communities within a short radius around the Chicago Botanic Garden. Birds, mussels, waves, shopping malls, forest preserves and other subjects are arranged by months in a series of poetic observations. The passenger pigeon appears in all of its masses as a force acting upon the primeval landscape. The menacing zebra mussel, an imported threat, shares billing with the geological processes of the lake, its waves and currents. Even the most acute observer of nature will find fascinating new perspectives on every page of this book, and will treasure and re-read this rare delight now and for many years to come.

— John F. Swenson, Volunteer, Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden