Wild Nights by Anne Matthews
Nature Returns to the City

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A walk on New York City's truly wild side -- and a glimpse of the landscape of the future.

Deer in Manhattan, coyotes in the Bronx, wild turkeys flying down Broadway: among the traffic and tall buildings of America's most urban terrain, another city -- suppressed and segregated during daylight, exceedingly lively from twilight to dawn -- has begun to stake a new claim. Wild Nights takes a startling tour of this other New York, revealing how stubbornly nature reasserts itself in even the most violently resculpted terrain.

In the first urban period in human history, confrontation and competition with the natural world is becoming an everyday occurrence. Some encounters charm us; some we dread; some we badly misunderstand. Anne Matthews explores them, examining the implications of this unexpected and powerful resurgence of nature for the fate of a world of megacities and suburban hypersprawl. Animated by her keen wit and eye, and anatomized by the often warring theories of scientists, historians, and environmentalists, New York emerges as a case study in civilization on the brink of ecological overreach.

Other urban civilizations, in other centuries, reached such points of no return. As Matthews reminds us, most disappeared. Whether nature gets to bat last depends on our understanding one of the oldest, hardest lessons in human history: wild doesn't always mean natural, and urban is rarely the same as tame.


About Anne Matthews

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Anne Matthews is the author of two previous books, "Where the Buffalo Roam" & "Bright College Years". She is a contributing editor for "Preservation" magazine.
Published May 1, 2001 by North Point Press. 224 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Sometimes, as if afraid her emphasis on New York will seem parochial, Matthews drops in information about the return of wildlife in other cities: mountain lions in Denver, javelinas in Tucson.

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Publishers Weekly

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To the untrained eye, New York City is a concrete jungle inhabited by humans and pests.

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Nashville Public Library

Part urban ecologist, part social anthropologist and one fine writer, Ann Matthews covers such diverse topics as coyotes sneaking into Manhattan from the Bronx at night, the life of falcons in the city, the urban “public space” myths and their origins to the search for the ruins of Penn Station i...

Jul 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Wild Nights: Nature Returns t...

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