Winner of the Sierra Club’s 2021 Rachel Carson Award
One of Chicago Tribune‘s Ten Best Books of 2021
“At once thoughtful and thought-provoking,” Beloved Beasts tells the story of the modern conservation movement through the lives and ideas of the people who built it, making “a crucial addition to the literature of our troubled time” (Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction).
In the late nineteenth century, humans came at long last to a devastating realization: their rapidly industrializing and globalizing societies were driving scores of animal species to extinction. In Beloved Beasts, acclaimed science journalist Michelle Nijhuis traces the history of the movement to protect and conserve other forms of life. From early battles to save charismatic species such as the American bison and bald eagle to today’s global effort to defend life on a larger scale, Nijhuis’s “spirited and engaging” account documents “the changes of heart that changed history” (Dan Cryer, Boston Globe).
With “urgency, passion, and wit” (Michael Berry, Christian Science Monitor), she describes the vital role of scientists and activists such as Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, reveals the origins of vital organizations like the Audubon Society and the World Wildlife Fund, explores current efforts to protect species such as the whooping crane and the black rhinoceros, and confronts the darker side of modern conservation, long shadowed by racism and colonialism.
As the destruction of other species continues and the effects of climate change wreak havoc on our world, Beloved Beasts charts the ways conservation is becoming a movement for the protection of all species including our own.