Tim Flannery is the author of Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World’s Most Extraordinary Creature and, most recently, Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate 
Crisis.
 (December 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

Objectifying Male Birds

Charles Darwin

One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli, and the Great Stink of 1858

by Rosemary Ashton

The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us

by Richard O. Prum
By 1858 London had grown to be the largest city on earth, yet its nearly two and a half million inhabitants had no effective sewage system. Prior to the 1840s the city’s 200,000 cesspools had provided some degree of sanitation, but they often overflowed, and they needed to be emptied …

Gone Fishing

A fisherman and his catch, Sicily, 2004

Fishing: How the Sea Fed Civilization

by Brian Fagan

The Doryman’s Reflection: A Fisherman’s Life

by Paul Molyneaux
The classic story of the rise of human civilizations traces food procurement from hunting and gathering to the domestication of animals and plants. In Fishing, Brian Fagan makes the case that this account misses a crucial third element—the harvesting of marine and aquatic resources. Far from being a peripheral activity, …

In Praise of Sandstone

The sandstone blocks at the Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney’s new waterfront park, which opened in August 2015
The creation of an expansive, charming public space at the heart of a great commercial city is a rare event. Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve, which opened in August 2015, joined New York’s High Line and London’s East End Olympic redevelopment as a landmark public park that helps define a major metropolis’s …

NYR DAILY

The Paris Catastrophe

New Orleans, 2005

If the Paris agreement falters and we are forced to wait another decade for a new one, we would have no way of avoiding a dangerous and increasingly unstable future. Far from damaging the US economy as President Trump argues, the Paris agreement offered it a lifeline. Sadly, it’s a lifeline that Trump has just thrown away.

Lilliput Under the Sea

Pacific Giant Octopus, Enteroctopus dofleini, 0.6 inches long without arms, 2014

Susan Middleton’s Spineless reveals a world where hermit crabs resemble wizards carrying their own magic mountains on their backs, and where worms are transformed into exquisite, pearly necklaces. Marine invertebrates—from octopuses to hermit crabs and creatures like the bizarre holothurians—are the focus of this photography book.

Copenhagen, and After

On April 5, 2009, Denmark got a new Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. He was the third Danish Prime Minister in a row to bear that surname, replacing Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who had been named the new Secretary-General of NATO. A capable local politician in his forties, Lars Rasmussen had, in contrast to his predecessor, almost no experience in international politics. His appointment received little media coverage outside Denmark. But just eight months later, with Denmark the host of the Copenhagen climate summit (officially the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP-15), Lars Rasmussen’s—and Denmark’s—lack of experience in international politics would have a global impact.

Copenhagen Crisis: Why the US Needs Cap and Trade

It is often argued that cap and trade legislation requires too many compromises with—and give-aways to—polluting corporations to pass the House and Senate, and that consequently it is ineffective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While environmentalists are failing to support cap and trade, those opposing action on climate change are fiercely attacking it. Yet such a system is essential when it comes to getting global action on climate change—not least at the increasingly imperilled climate summit in Copenhagen in December—for it delivers a transparent benchmark by which nations can judge each other’s commitment.