Fen, Bog and Swamp: Book summary and reviews of Fen, Bog and Swamp by Annie Proulx

Fen, Bog and Swamp

A Short History of Peatland Destruction and Its Role in the Climate Crisis

by Annie Proulx

Fen, Bog and Swamp by Annie Proulx X
Fen, Bog and Swamp by Annie Proulx
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Book Summary

From Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx - whose novels are infused with her knowledge and deep concern for the earth - comes a riveting, revelatory history of our wetlands, their ecological role, and what their systematic destruction means for the planet.

A lifelong environmentalist, Annie Proulx brings her wide-ranging research and scholarship to the subject of wetlands and the vitally important yet little understood role they play in preserving the environment—by storing the carbon emissions that greatly contribute to climate change. Fens, bogs, swamps, and marine estuaries are the earth's most desirable and dependable resources, and in four stunning parts, Proulx documents the long-misunderstood role of these wetlands in saving the planet.

Taking us on a fascinating journey through history, Proulx shows us the fens of 16th-century England to Canada's Hudson Bay lowlands, Russia's Great Vasyugan Mire, America's Okeefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and the 19th-century explorers who began the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Along the way, she writes of the diseases spawned in the wetlands—the Ague, malaria, Marsh Fever—and the surprisingly significant role of peat in industrialization.

A sobering look at the degradation of wetlands over centuries and the serious ecological consequences, this is a stunningly important work and a rousing call to action by a writer whose passionate devotion to understanding and preserving the environment is on full and glorious display.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Pulitzer winner Proulx sounds the alarm on the place of Earth's wetlands in the climate crisis in this stunning account...Proulx's prose is, as ever, stunning...This resonant ode to a planet in peril is tough to forget." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An eloquent, engaged argument for the preservation of a small and damp yet essential part of the planet." - Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of Proulx's fiction, even those with marginal interest in peatlands, will be intrigued by the snippets of memoir and the habits of a writer's mind that this collection reveals." - Library Journal

"So often feared, dredged, and drained, swamps, bogs, and fens (it turns out) are just as vital to our species' survival on this planet as healthy forests and oceans—perhaps moreso. Proulx has written a moving elegy and cri de coeur for our world's wetlands. I learned something new—and found something amazing—on every page." - Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See and Cloud Cuckoo Land

"Talk about seeing the whole world through a single well-chosen window! Annie Proulx is, as ever, remarkable—her mind, her heart, and her learning take us on an unforgettable and unflinching tour of past and present, fixed on a subject that could not be more important. A compact classic!" - Bill McKibben, author The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back on his Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened

"Annie Proulx has brought nature full circle in her short history, Fen, Bog, and Swamp. They all store carbon with a watertight seal of the vault. What was once literature and lighting, food and fodder, mood and medicine to the peoples of the past has nearly gone. The carbon graves will open. We must understand and restore these vital ecosystems to protect our future." - Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of To Speak for the Trees

This information about Fen, Bog and Swamp was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Annie Proulx Author Biography

Photo: Gus Powell

Annie Proulx is the author of nine books, including the novels The Shipping News and Barkskins, and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story "Brokeback Mountain," which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award–winning film. Fen, Bog, and Swamp is her second work of nonfiction. She lives in New Hampshire.

Name Pronunciation
Annie Proulx: Proo (rhymes with new)

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