Monday, October 24, 2011
1) Elbroch, Mark and Kurt Rinehart. Peterson Reference Guides: Behavior of North American Mammals. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Hardbound: 374 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: This new addition to the Peterson Reference Guide series is highly readable and full of curious facts. For example, did you know that when an opossum plays dead it isn’t pretending? Opossums actually do enter a catatonic deathlike state. Or look at armadillos, who sequester air in their guts, blow up to twice their normal volume, and paddle across the water. A guide not for identifying mammals, but to understanding what they do, Behavior of North American Mammals provides detailed information on more than 70 species of mammals and includes illuminating and attractive photographs and drawings. Comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible, the book includes information on daily and seasonal activity, food and foraging, home range and habitat, communication, courtship, and mating, development and dispersal of young, interactions with their own species, and interactions with other species.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those interested in North American Mammals!
2) Matsen, Brad. Death and Oil: A True Story of the Piper Alpha Disaster on the North Sea. 2011. Pantheon. Hardbound: 203 pages. Price: $25.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: The first full account of the most tragic oil rig disaster in history, the human story behind it, and the true nature of its legacy.
July 6, 1988, began as a normal day on Piper Alpha, the biggest offshore oil rig on the North Sea. But just after 10:00 p.m., a series of explosions rocked the platform, and the inferno continued to burn for weeks. Of the 226 men working on the platform, 162 died, along with two of their would-be rescuers. Brad Matsen talked to the survivors and their families; to the rescue teams, firefighters, and hospital workers; and to other witnesses. Now he brings together the full story of the human error and corporate malfeasance behind this tragedy.
Here is a comprehensive account of the catastrophe, from the origins of the fires on the rig to the investigation into the causes of its demise to the pain it continues to cause the survivors and the families of the dead. Written with a novelist’s sense of pace and eye for detail, it is a riveting, gut-wrenching saga, made even more timely and important in light of recent disasters.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting story on the true price of oil!