In forty-five years as one of Chicago's liveliest journalists for Time, Life, and the Chicago Tribune, Jon Anderson has established a reputation for picking up on what someone once called "the beauty of the specific fact." Part "Talk of the Town," part On the Road with Charles Kuralt, Anderson's twice-a-week "City Watch" columns in the Chicago Tribune seek out interesting and unexpected people and places from the everyday life of what the author calls the "most typical American big city." In the process he discovers the joys and triumphs of ordinary people.
Anderson writes with wit and insight about those who find themselves inspired or obsessed with alternative ways of viewing life or getting through the day. Like the man who started with one light pole, then painted all the poles in his southside neighborhood. Or the founder of Cats-Are-Purrsons-Too, a nun who lives with sixty-seven cats. Or the philosopher who, with no financial success, still publishes a newsletter called "The Meaning of Life." After years of hunting down moments of everyday life that have drama and meaning, Anderson offers a book that has curious power, because all of its stories are true.
Drawn from the best of Anderson's columns, City Watch introduces readers to an eclectic mix of social clubs, subcultures, and minor celebrities. From Foraging Friends, a group of penniless ecologists who forage for wild foods in a county forest preserve, to the annual Dumpster Diver fashion show, from the Oakton Elementary School chess team to a group that calls itself Some Chicago Anarchists, readers will discover the characters and events that define Chicago's local color.
Now you can share the experiences of the first U.S. scientists who set about discovering the nature of North American deserts. "This is a fascinating account of how these pioneer ecologists laid the foundations for our modern knowledge of plant adaptation to desert environments. . . . It is well done." (American Scientist)
What are the most salient and sparkling facts about the Netherlands that those interested in its history need to know? This updated edition of Discovering the Dutch tackles the heart of the question of Dutch identity through a number of essential themes that span the culture, history, and society of the Netherlands. Running the gamut from the Randstad to the Dutch Golden Age, from William of Orange to Anne Frank, this volume uses a series of vignettes written by academic experts in their fields to address historical and contemporary topics such as immigration, tolerance, and the struggle against water, as well as issues of culture—painting, literature, architecture, and design among them.
Baja California: wild, desolate, and a treasure-house of geological wonders. Along its ancient shorelines, careful observers can learn much about how the Gulf of California came into existence and what the future of the Baja California peninsula might be. For those who wish to unlock the mysteries of Baja California, geologist Markes Johnson offers the key. He has taken a body of technical research on the geology and paleontology of the region and made it accessible in plain language for anyone who visits the peninsula, whether for study or recreation. His book teaches general concepts in coastal geomorphology and tectonics, as well as the basic geological and natural history of the Gulf of California, in a conversive, intellectually stimulating fashion. Johnson's guide takes the form of six day-long hikes in the area of Punta Chivato on the east coast of the southern Baja California peninsula. Punta Chivato is presented as a microcosm of the entire region; it can enable visitors to better understand major themes in the natural history of the Gulf of California and its geological past. All of the hikes begin at the southeast corner of the Punta Chivato promontory and loop out in different directions. Each circuit is designed to minimize overlap with adjacent hikes and to maximize the visitor's exposure to instructive variations in the landscape. Each chapter features additional reflections on a geologist of another time and place who has advanced the field in a way that elucidates the material covered in that chapter. Through these asides, readers will learn the basic lessons about how geologists read the secrets hidden in landscapes. Discovering the Geology of Baja California invites visitors to these shores to explore not only rocks and fossils but also the continuum of past ecosystems with the ecology of the present. It offers both an unparalleled guide to a remote area and a new understanding of life caught in an endless cycle of change.
“Truly a legend in our time, John Templeton understands that the real measure of a person's success in life is not financial accomplishment but moral integrity and inner character.” —Billy Graham
“This is a book that belongs to the list of seminal publications of the twentieth century. How grateful the world will be that John Templeton has shared his secret openly, forthrightly, packed with integrity and healing powers.” —Robert Schuller
This latest edition of Discovering the Qur'an includes a new preface by the author. Used by students around the world as a reliable guide to reading a translation of the Qur'an, it shows how the Qur'an is experienced by Muslims, describing the rhythmic and rhyme scheme structures, the context in which it is heard, the part played by learning by heart, and the importance of calligraphy. It is also about the Qur'an and its relationship to Muhammed, as well as helping to divine the ordering of the surahs or chapters. In an English-speaking world newly sensitized to Islam and its believers, Discovering the Qur'an will be an invaluable tool to greater understanding.
The rapidly disappearing wetlands that once spread so abundantly across the American continent serve an essential and irreplaceable ecological function. Yet for centuries, Americans have viewed them with disdain. Beginning with the first European settlers, we have thought of them as sinkholes of disease and death, as landscapes that were worse than useless unless they could be drained, filled, paved or otherwise "improved." As neither dry land, which can be owned and controlled by individuals, nor bodies of water, which are considered a public resource, wetlands have in recent years been at the center of controversy over issues of environmental protection and property rights.The confusion and contention that surround wetland issues today are the products of a long and convoluted history. In Discovering the Unknown Landscape, Anne Vileisis presents a fascinating look at that history, exploring how Americans have thought about and used wetlands from Colonial times through the present day. She discusses the many factors that influence patterns of land use -- ideology, economics, law, perception, art -- and examines the complicated interactions among those factors that have resulted in our contemporary landscape. As well as chronicling the march of destruction, she considers our seemingly contradictory tradition of appreciating wetlands: artistic and literary representations, conservation during the Progressive Era, and recent legislation aimed at slowing or stopping losses.Discovering the Unknown Landscape is an intriguing synthesis of social and environmental history, and a valuable examination of how cultural attitudes shape the physical world that surrounds us. It provides important context to current debates, and clearly illustrates the stark contrast between centuries of beliefs and policies and recent attempts to turn those longstanding beliefs and policies around. Vileisis's clear and engaging prose provides a new and compelling understanding of modern-day environmental conflicts.
Imagine a place dedicated to the long-term study of nature in nature, a permanent biological field station, a teaching and research laboratory that promotes complete immersion in the natural world. Lakeside Laboratory, founded on the shore of Lake Okoboji in northwestern Iowa in 1909, is just such a place. In this remarkable and insightful book, Michael Lannoo sets the story of Lakeside Lab within the larger story of the primacy of fieldwork, the emergence of conservation biology, and the ability of field stations to address such growing problems as pollution, disease, habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change.
At the intersection of major ecosystems with distinct plant and animal communities and surrounded by what, ironically, may be the most intensely cultivated landscape on earth, Lakeside has a long history of rubber-boot biologists saturated in the spirit that grounds the new discipline of conservation biology, and Lannoo brings this history to life with his descriptions of the people and ideas that shaped it. Lakeside’s continuing commitment to bringing the laboratory to the field rather than bringing the field to the lab has supported a focus on mammalogy, ornithology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate biology, parasitology, limnology, and algology, subjects rarely taught now on university campuses but crucial to the planet’s health.
Today’s huge array of environmental problems can best be solved by people who have learned about nature within nature at a place with a long history of research and observation, people who thoroughly understand and appreciate nature’s cogs and wheels. Lakeside Lab and biological research stations like it have never been more relevant to science and to society at large than they are today. Michael Lannoo convinces us that while Lakeside’s past is commendable, its future, grounded in ecological principles, will help shape a more sustainable society.
The Spiritual Journey of Charles Fillmore sheds new light on the life and work of an important spiritual pioneer. In this landmark new biography, author Neal Vahle uses thorough new research, interviews with those who knew Fillmore, and his intimate familiarity with Fillmore's writings to introduce readers to the intriguing cofounder of the Unity movement. Going well beyond the bounds of standard biography, Vahle's comprehensive treatment also renders the philosophical and spiritual landscape of Fillmore's era in great detail and provides readers with an excellent overview of the metaphysical movement's evolution through time.
While it will serve as an excellent introduction for new students of the New Thought movement, even devoted enthusiasts will discover previously unknown dimensions of Fillmore's teachings in passages drawn from the archives of Unity magazine and other sources. This work, together with Vahle's earlier books Torch-bearer to Light the Way: The Life of Myrtle Fillmore (Open View, 1996) and The Unity Movement: Its Evolution and Spiritual Teaching (Templeton Foundation Press, 2002) establish him as the premier historian of the Unity movement.
"Know thyself," a precept as old as Socrates, is still good advice. But is introspection the best path to self-knowledge? Wilson makes the case for better ways of discovering our unconscious selves. If you want to know who you are or what you feel or what you're like, Wilson advises, pay attention to what you actually do and what other people think about you. Showing us an unconscious more powerful than Freud's, and even more pervasive in our daily life, Strangers to Ourselves marks a revolution in how we know ourselves.
Where can you find mosses that change landscapes, salamanders with algae in their skin, and carnivorous plants containing whole ecosystems in their furled leaves? Where can you find swamp-trompers, wildlife watchers, marsh managers, and mud-mad scientists? In wetlands, those complex habitats that play such vital ecological roles.
In Wading Right In, Catherine Owen Koning and Sharon M. Ashworth take us on a journey into wetlands through stories from the people who wade in the muck. Traveling alongside scientists, explorers, and kids with waders and nets, the authors uncover the inextricably entwined relationships between the water flows, natural chemistry, soils, flora, and fauna of our floodplain forests, fens, bogs, marshes, and mires. Tales of mighty efforts to protect rare orchids, restore salt marshes, and preserve sedge meadows become portals through which we visit major wetland types and discover their secrets, while also learning critical ecological lessons.
The United States still loses wetlands at a rate of 13,800 acres per year. Such loss diminishes the water quality of our rivers and lakes, depletes our capacity for flood control, reduces our ability to mitigate climate change, and further impoverishes our biodiversity. Koning and Ashworth’s stories captivate the imagination and inspire the emotional and intellectual connections we need to commit to protecting these magical and mysterious places.