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Book Data

ISBN: 9781933392141
Year Added to Catalog: 2006
Book Format: Hardcover
Book Art: World Rights, B&W Illustrations
Dimensions: 5 5/8 x 8 5/8
Number of Pages: 264
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Old ISBN: 1933392142
Release Date: September 30, 2006
Web Product ID: 211

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Or, Life on a Salt Marsh

by Tim Traver


Conservation magazine

Reviewed by Margaret Pizerz

October 1, 2006

Tim Traver has felt the pull of the tides, too—back to his family’s place on a Cape Cod marsh. Ecology, he informs readers, is the science of home—originating from the Greek root oikos, meaning "household." In Sippewissett, he returns home to dig quahogs, fly-fish for striped bass, and conjure the ghost of Rachel Carson. The result is an eclectic narrative that combines tales from Traver’s childhood with accounts of the history of ecological research in nearby Woods Hole. Structuring the book loosely along the timeline of a summer spent at his family’s vacation house, Traver alternates scientific investigations of the marsh (nutrient cycling, for example) with descriptions of the larger community, including droll portraits of neighborhood politics. Miraculously, the whole thing hangs together, perhaps because Traver is lucky enough to have grown up in a place where ocean and land, scientists and socialites all converge. Sippewissett, he writes, is "a place of biochemical alchemy and wonder—as vast as a splendiferous green sea." Traver works his own literary alchemy in this lyrical story about the importance of marshes to coastal ecosystems and to the human experience.

See the review here

Booklist Starred Review

October 1, 2006

* Tim Traver has created a wonderfully unique piece of genre blending in his elegant rumination on Sippewissett, the Cape Cod salt marsh he has known since childhood. By including both a rich history of the nearby Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (along with fascinating profiles of the many scientists associated with it over the years) and stories about his family’s long relationship with the marsh, he provides the reader with a work that is equal parts natural history and memoir. As he ponders the accomplishments and impact of naturalist luminaries Louis Agassiz, Spencer Baird, and Rachel Carson, he places their historic research in the context of the marsh’s present condition. This transition is made easy by his family’s deep connection to the region, which he shares in passages echoing George Howe Cold’s National Book Award finalist, The Big House (2003). Traver has the same deep attachment to the land as Colt, but his scientific background and attention to the region’s marine biology raises the book to a higher level. Sippewissett is a rare book as it both informs and entrances. A delight from beginning to end. —Colleen Mondor

YA: A perfect read for budding marine biologists, especially those already aquainted with the pre-eminence of Woods Hole. —CM


Library Journal Starred Review

September 15, 2006

* Traver, a third-generation Cape Cod salt marsh inhabitant, has the distinctive and wonderful perspective that comes from loving-and sometimes leaving-a place of true natural wonder. Spending near-idyllic boyhood summers in Sippewissett, MA, Traver grew up exploring the natural world around him. Revisiting those childhood memories, now tempered by marriage and fatherhood, he looks at many vital and potentially contentious issues from both sides of the proverbial coin-that of the scientist/environmentalist and the local-and speaks with understanding and empathy for both. In this wonderful blend of natural history and memoir, Traver details both the ecology and the history of Sippewissett, describing the people and creatures that he encounters, and chronicles the daily turning of the tides. Educational, touching, and highly relevant in today's changing ecological world, this marvelous book is highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Susan E. Brazer, Salisbury Univ. Lib., MD

Price: $22.50
Format: Hardcover
Status: Available to Ship
Ships: Next day

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Also available in: Paperback


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