The folks at the Why Files, your guide to the science behind the news, took last week off. To fill the space in their absence, they launched a book club of sorts. Look out, Oprah!
Of the first four selections, three titles -- John McPhee's The Control of Nature, Jared Diamond's Collapse, and David Quammen's The Song of the Dodo -- are must-haves for any environmentalist's bookshelf.
In the wake of New Orleans' flooding, McPhee's book, with its section about the Army Corps of Engineers' neverending struggle to keep the Atchafalaya River from "capturing" the Mississippi, seems especially timely. But in the face of Washington's inaction over global warming and other environmental crises, Diamond's Collapse, which looks at the societal decisions that ultimately make the difference between a civilization's success or failure, is every bit as relevant.
You can learn more about Collapse in an interview with Diamond that appeared in the May/June issue of Sierra.