Excerpt from Return to Wild America by Scott Weidensaul, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Return to Wild America

A Yearlong Search for the Continent's Natural Soul

by Scott Weidensaul

Return to Wild America by Scott Weidensaul X
Return to Wild America by Scott Weidensaul
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Nov 2005, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2006, 416 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


We were watching for caribou, and there was plenty of signs—a lot of droppings, some quite fresh, and tracks in the mud, each print slightly wasp-waisted in the middle. We also found the remains of a calf that had died over the winter, down along the stream—a corona of white hair and the clean, bleached bones, along the stream—along with piles and piles of mammal scat, much of it fox, all of it containing great quantities of caribou fur. When we later saw a live caribou, a large bull, it was albescent, as white as the weathered bones; even its nose was pale gray, so that the only color was the dark eyes and the black hair that grew inside its ears.

The wind howled, and for five minutes a cold, heavy downpour soaked us before the sun peeked back out apologetically. We hiked an hour or so down the main river, then looped back and struck a smaller tributary, which had cut a confused series of low gorges in the rock—a creek maybe thirty feet wide, the water so stained with tannin it was nearly black. It was fed by a series of small pools and ponds on the higher ground to either side; some of these were jewel-like, surrounded by sedges and irises, set in little steep-sided dells where the wind couldn't reach and the dark water reflected the sky like glass. In one, a yellow-rumped warbler alit on a rocky shelf above the water, blue-gray against the yellow lichen, flew down to splash with its reflection, then whirled off with a single chip.

More than a thousand square kilometers of the central Avalon are protected as a wilderness reserve, but even the margins are largely wild, largely wild, largely empty land. The only paved road is a loop that skirts the edge of the sea, linking the small towns like St. Shott's and Trepassey, with a handful of dirt tracks like the one that runs down to the old lighthouse at Cape Race, where we were paced by swift-flying horned larks and found the remains of a freshly killed murre on a low bluff beside the sea, its feathers gently waving in a long plume to the leeward where a peregrine falcon had sat and plucked it. Its skeleton was still wet and bloody, the two black wings untouched, but the falcon was gone.

Excerpt from Return to Wild America by Scott Weidensaul. Copyright 2001-2003 by Scott Weidensaul. Published by North Point Press in 2005. All rights reserved. Visitors to this web site are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Spark of Light
    A Spark of Light
    by Jodi Picoult
    The central premise of A Spark of Light involves a gunman holding hostages within the confines of a ...
  • Book Jacket: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
    by Hank Green
    As one half of the extremely popular YouTube duo "Vlogbrothers" (the other half being his brother ...
  • Book Jacket: Waiting for Eden
    Waiting for Eden
    by Elliot Ackerman
    Elliot Ackerman's latest novel, Waiting for Eden, follows Marine Eden Malcom as his death ...
  • Book Jacket: A Well-Behaved Woman
    A Well-Behaved Woman
    by Therese Anne Fowler
    The full title of A Well-Behaved Woman includes the subtitle A Novel of the Vanderbilts which is ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Unsheltered
by Barbara Kingsolver

A timely novel that explores the human capacity for resiliency and compassion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Travelling Cat Chronicles
    by Hiro Arikawa

    A life-affirming anthem to kindness and self-sacrifice.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Paris Echo
    by Sebastian Faulks

    A story of resistance, complicity, and an unlikely, transformative friendship.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Strangers in Budapest

Strangers in Budapest

A couple trying to make a new life in a foreign land find themselves drawn into a cultural and generational vendetta.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

N M I A T Law

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.