The Ghost with Trembling Wings by Scott Weidensaul
Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species

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Synopsis

A round-the-world detective story about rediscovering vanished species

Three or four times an hour, eighty or more times a day, a unique species of plant or animal vanishes forever. It is, scientists say, the worst global extinction crisis in the last sixty-five million years -- the hemorrhage of thirty thousand irreplaceable life-forms each year. And yet, every so often one of these lost species resurfaces, such as the Indian forest owlet, considered extinct for more than a century when it was rediscovered in 1997. Like heirlooms plucked from a burning house, they are gifts to an increasingly impoverished world.

In The Ghost with Trembling Wings, naturalist Scott Weidensaul pursues these stories of loss and recovery, of endurance against the odds, and of surprising resurrections. The search takes Weidensaul to the rain forests of the Caribbean and Brazil in pursuit of long-lost birds, to the rugged mountains of Tasmania for the striped, wolflike marsupial known as the thylacine, to cloning laboratories where scientists struggle to re-create long-extinct animals, and even to the moorlands and tidy farms of England on the trail of mysterious black panthers whose existence seems to depend on the faith of those looking for them. The Ghost with Trembling Wings is a book of exploration and a survey of the frontiers of modern science and wildlife biology. It is, in the end, the story of our desire for a wilder, bigger, more complete world.
 

About Scott Weidensaul

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Scott Weidensaul is the author of Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and Mountains of the Heart. He lives in the Pennsylvania Appalachians.
 
Published June 15, 2002 by North Point Press. 352 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Ghost with Trembling Wings

Kirkus Reviews

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Weidensaul, a devoted naturalist whose 1999 Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds was a Pulitzer finalist, guides the reader on a variety of lively quests for extinct or soon-to-be-extinct creatures.

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Publishers Weekly

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Weidensaul (Living on the Wind) recounts famous success stories, like the recovery of the coelacanth, a fish believed to be extinct for about 80 million years until fishermen landed one off the coast of South Africa in 1938, as well as various wild goose chases and his own obsessive search for th...

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Star Tribune

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And for those of us who treasure wild places and wild things, for whom the death of a species is a personal loss, we also need to believe the world is more complete than the catalog of vanishing species would indicate.

Jun 08 2002 | Read Full Review of The Ghost with Trembling Wing...

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