Evolution

Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds

By Christopher Cokinos

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"Journey with Christopher Cokinos to a time when flocks of Passenger Pigeons blocked the sun and Carolina Parakeets colored the sky--according to one pioneer--'like an atmosphere of gems.' Driven by a desire to understand the lives of these now-extinct birds and how and why they vanished, Cokinos excavates crumbling newspapers and forgotten reports. From Bird Rock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Louisiana's tangled bayous, he searches for those who loved the Passenger Pigeon, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Labrador Duck; for the people who stalked the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, the Heath Hen, and the Great Auk; and for those who tried to save them. A compelling blend of science, history, politics, and memoir, Hope Is the Thing with Feathers draws on previously unpublished photographs and original documents to make these long-vanished birds come alive. Cokinos delves into the mysterious sighting of Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers in April 1999; the incredible plan to create new Heath Hens on Martha's Vineyard; and the astonishing possibility that these extinct birds could be resurrected through the science of cloning."

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Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman

Charles and Emma

A mountain of information has been written about Charles Darwin’s life, ideas and adventures, but this may be the first book about his romance with Emma Wedgwood. The dilemma? Emma was staunchly religious while Charles was bound to science and his revolutionary idea of the origin of species. Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith, by Deborah Heiligman, examines the true story of their courtship, marriage and family life as a backdrop to Darwin’s famous discoveries.

Faced with the question of whether or not to marry, Darwin, ever the scientist, compiled a list – a wife, he wrote, is “better than a dog” but then again he’d have “less money for books.” Eventually, Darwin did decide to marry Emma and the couple spent many happy years together.