Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her latest book is The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. (June 2016)


He Tried to Be a Badger

A raccoon on the northeast shore of Whitefish Lake, Michigan, 1903; photograph by George Shiras from In the Heart of the Dark Night, which collects his images of wildlife from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is edited by Sonia Voss, with an essay by Jean-Christophe Bailly, and is published by Éditions Xavier Barral.

Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide

by Charles Foster

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

by Frans de Waal
Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide, proposes that humans spend less time thinking about or even observing animals and more time emulating them. To appreciate what it’s like to be an otter, try catching fish in your mouth. To appreciate what it’s like to be a fox, try sleeping under a porch by day and foraging through garbage bins at night. The conceit is obviously demented, and Foster, a man of—by his own description—“shaggy, anarchic pretensions,” pursues it with unhinged élan.

Can Climate Change Cure Capitalism?

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

by Naomi Klein
“What is wrong with us?” Naomi Klein asks near the start of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, her ambitious new polemic. Her answer turns upside-down the narrative that the country’s largest environmental groups have been telling.

They Covered the Sky, and Then…

Lewis Cross: Passenger Pigeons in Flight, painted in 1937

A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction

by Joel Greenberg

Lost Animals: Extinction and the Photographic Record

by Errol Fuller
The very last passenger pigeon on earth was a female named Martha who lived at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was born sometime in 1895 or 1897, or perhaps 1900 or 1902, maybe at the zoo or maybe one state over, in Illinois; over the years, many different versions of her …