Dawn Light: Book summary and reviews of Dawn Light by Diane Ackerman

Dawn Light

Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day

By Diane Ackerman

Dawn Light

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Book Summary

In an eye-opening sequence of personal meditations through the cycle of seasons, Diane Ackerman awakens us to the world at dawn—drawing on sources as diverse as meteorology, world religion, etymology, art history, poetry, organic farming, and beekeeping. As a patient and learned observer of animal and human physiology and behavior, she introduces us to varieties of bird music and other signs of avian intelligence, while she herself “migrates” from winter in Florida to spring, summer, and fall in upstate New York.

Humans might luxuriate in the idea of being "in" nature, Ackerman points out, but we often forget that we are nature—for "no facet of nature is as unlikely as we, the tiny bipeds with the giant dreams." Joining science's devotion to detail with religion's appreciation of the sublime, Dawn Light is an impassioned celebration of the miracles of evolution—especially human consciousness of our numbered days on a turning earth.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. These pieces are accessible and lyrically written, and they flow well, one after another, making reading the book a true pleasure. Ackerman's fans and readers who appreciate nature writing at its finest will love this." - Library Journal

"Ackerman...luxuriates in the break of day...a lovely, learned invitation to 'the ancient thrill of impending sunlight.'" - Kirkus Reviews

"Stepping into Ackerman's smart and comfortable shoes, what's not to like about dawn, with 'its ancient thrill of impending daylight,' where birds bring news from a far country, we enchant ourselves by simply paying attention? 'Morning,' wrote Sei Shonagon in The Pillow Book,.... most astonishing." - Barnes & Noble Review

"Highly charged prose like this runs the risk of overstatement, and Ackerman doesn't always avoid it.... We forgive her these lapses ... [Y]ou're immersed in Ackerman's glorious prose, studded with arresting phrases and breathtakingly beautiful images....Her gift to us is the sheer pleasure of seeing the world through her loving eyes." - The Washington Post

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Author Information

Diane Ackerman Author Biography

Photo © Toshi Otsuki

Poet, essayist, and naturalist, Diane Ackerman is the author of many highly acclaimed works of nonfiction, including A Natural History of the Senses -- a book beloved by readers all over the world and the volumes Deep Play, A Slender Thread, The Rarest of the Rare, A Natural History of Love, The Moon by Whale Light, and a memoir on flying, On Extended Wings.

Her poetry has been collected into six volumes, among them Jaguar of Sweet Laughter: New and Selected Poems and Praise My Destroyer.

Ms. Ackerman has received many prizes and awards, including the John Burroughs Nature Award and the Lavan Poetry Prize. A Visiting Professor at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, she was the National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor at the University of ...

... Full Biography
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