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The View from Lazy Point: A Natural Year in an Unnatural World Hardcover – Jan 4 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (Jan. 4 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805090401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805090406
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 15.9 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #361,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By carmenlawrence on Aug. 15 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think everyone should read this book. It's more than just a nature read, it combines interesting perspectives from all over the globe and ties them together with political insights and a philosophical peek into the human existence. And of course, Safina writes beautifully and poetically with subtle humour. Another complete win from one of the best authors of the decade. This should be a mandatory high school read :)
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Format: Paperback
This book has to be one of the best books that I've read in the last few years - every page is well written and powerful, full of amazing facts and beautiful observations. I highly recommended this book, an absolute pleasure to read despite some of the more sombre facts regarding our changing world. I am now ordering more books written by Mr. Safina.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 31 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A book for all to read Feb. 3 2011
By Robert Murray - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If I could urge the reading of just one book by political, economic, industrial, religious and judicial leaders of the world, it would be Carl Safina's "The View from Lazy Point." I am a scientist, with experience in both the lab and the field; the author spoke to me in a way that few writers have ever done. I read a lot of books; never have I repeatedly stopped in mid-reading to write my son, a social scientist, brief passages with my own comments appended. As I told him, Safin has seen many things that I have seen but has related his experiences in ways that simply made me jump up and say "Yes! Just what I wish I could have said." One of the beauties of this work is that all readers -- scientist, weekend naturalist or lovers of plain good reading, will find much of value.

The picture painted by Safin is grim, but not bleak. He stresses the evolutionary interconnectedness of all life, combining excellent science with beautiful stories of pain and joy. He clearly knows his world history, and uses ideas and personages from the past to illustrate where we are in the present and where we need (no, must) go in the future. Do not plan to sit and read this work in a day or two; you will be doing a great disservice to yourself. This is a work that needs to be slowy savored.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Two, two, two books in one! May 6 2011
By David J. Robertson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
By the time your reach 59 years, if you've been reading natural history for any length of time, the "trip through the year" conceit gets a little old. Safina freshens it up a bit by reporting on the effects of global warming in exotic locales both hot and cold. And, though he draws tight parallels between the local Long Island phenology of his residence and the coral reefs and the Arctic and Antarctic islands he visits, the two don't mesh perfectly--hence, two books in one. Safina makes sure that his book isn't a complete "downer" by showcasing positive developments in natural ecosystems, but the overall message certainly is (and rightly so) extraordinarily discouraging; the sugar coat is mighty thin.

Nevertheless, Safina is a gifted writer and keen observer. His prose is lyrical and heartfelt. As a result, the book is a reading pleasure. It's worth noting, however, that Safina devotes a considerable number of pages to his fishing exploits; if you're not a fisher, these sections wear thin pretty quickly. In addition, Safina's political leanings and philosophy come through loud and clear, sometimes to the point of being shrill, but they clearly are honest and grow from his utter exasperation with the status quo and humans' inclination to bury their heads in the sand in the face of overwhelmingly difficult challenges.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Living in a World Divided Feb. 22 2011
By jd103 - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It took me a little while to adjust to the style of this book, which is aptly defined in the subtitle. Descriptions of events in the natural world alternate with reflections about the unnatural world of human society. Once I made the adjustment, I loved the book.

The author lives near the end of New York's Long Island, and the nature writing aspect of the book covers events there, and in what are described in the Table of Contents as Travels Polar and Travels Solar ranging from coral reefs to the Arctic and Antarctica. His major interest is the ocean so there is a lot about fish and seabirds. There is also a lot of fishing as a warning for those reluctant to read about that.

A couple highlights for me were a few pages about his experience with peregrine falcons because of my own experience with them, and a confrontation with a man filling his pickup truck with nesting horseshoe crabs as Safina's companion frantically heaves others from the beach back into the ocean. "It's legal," comes the justification, and that is really the deeper point of the book--how our laws and economics and ethics are hopelessly outdated for our too large population and what we now know about the ecological reality of the world, such as economics ignoring costs such as pollution as "externalities"--effectively defined as someone else's problem. I don't know if the phrase "privatizing gain and socializing pain" is original to the book, but I love it.

Many books like this don't even have an index. This book has a much appreciated great one with entries for civilization, common good, community, compassion, consumerism, and corporations. There are other letters as well.

A fine book--thanks to the author and Kenzie.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Master Class Jan. 21 2011
By John Petralia - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Remember The Silent Spring? Rachel Carson set a pretty high bar. Those that followed may have stood on her shoulders, but few have seen farther--- until now. Let me put it this way: Everyone should read this book. The prose is so beautiful, the thoughts so original that I got tired of underlining. I literally could not read more than a page without wanting to reread what I had just read. To be clear, I did not drink the Kool Aid. Indeed, I strongly disagree with some of the author's comments---corporations are evil; deregulation is bad; we should be satisfied with less. Let's just say, those are opinions unsupported by his Main Argument: Everything is connected; these connections have evolved over millions of years; we are part of that interconnected system; our actions have consequences; it's time to stop destroying ourselves. It's a strong case, well presented. Maybe, this time, we'll listen.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Truth That is Hard to Avoid March 6 2011
By David B Richman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Carl Safina is an excellent writer. His earlier book "Voyage of the Turtle" was a wonderful tribute to these creatures and I picked up "The View From Lazy Point" at the local library expecting a similar literary and scientific feast. I was not disappointed! His Prelude catches exactly the dilemma that many people, perhaps especially field biologists like me, find themselves in at the present time. Do you stop caring because you see the planet going to hell or do you try to both enjoy the natural world and work for saving it against the pressures of population and greed? As he says on p. 6 to feel better one would have to abandon the appreciation of nature and that would in reality make things much more dismal. I have struggled with this very problem lately and have come to the same conclusion, but Safina says it much more eloquently than I could. He then goes on to describe his experiences at Lazy Point on Long Island and his experiences in his travels around the world, chronicling the beauty of the natural world and the huge insults to nature produced by humans. Some of this is pretty hard to take and especially so since a goodly number of politicians, corporate leaders, and the general public are in total denial. Even so he ends on a upbeat note. It is up to us to try and make the future brighter, although we certainly cannot save everything and we will also quite certainly loose a lot. How much we will loose really depends on the commitment that the public, the business interests and the government are willing to make.

I have seldom read a book that was more on target, based on what I have personally experienced in my nearly 70 years. Most of the thoughts expressed by Safina are ones that I have had at one time or another and I get the strong impression that he is speaking not from a need to write polemics, but from his very being. This is a must read for anybody interested in conservation of the natural world.

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