Book Description

From Publishers Weekly Beginning in the glossy Kennedy era, Thomas Y. Canby traveled the world, creating texts that could stand up to his magazine's famously arresting images. From Botswana to the Bering Sea: My Thirty Years with National Geographic is a memoir written with a journalist's flair, a trained eye for detail and a determination to get the story right, whether remembering the author's global trackings of rats or his probings of the causes and horrific human toll of African famine. Photos and maps, not seen by PW. (Island/Shearwater, $24.95 288p 1-55963-517-7) 'It's the invasive ones we have to watch out for, the ones that proliferate out of control, degrade our ecosystems, make us ill, and devour our crops.' Not all imported flora and fauna are dangerous, but in Alien Invasion: America's Battle with Non-Native Animals and Plants, veteran nature writer Robert S. Devine shows us how insidious they can be, from viruses that repeatedly destroy papaya crops to the sea lamprey, which 'kills other fish by clamping on with its big, vampire mouth.' Devine also explains what's being done to combat these alien menaces. (National Geographic, $24 288p ISBN Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. Read more From Kirkus Reviews The life of a National Geographic staff writer``the choicest job in the known universe''and a disarming and especially frank look at intramural politics from one who considers himself ``totally a Geographic man.'' For 31 years Canby was a writer and a science editor at the magazine with the yellow border. His assignments are interesting enoughjourneys to Inuitland and to Kuwait while it burned, probings into El Nio and famine and rats, an ambivalent stint as a disaster journalist after the San Francisco earthquakebut he gloats a bit too often about his first-class travel arrangements and the wads of traveler's checks the society dispenses. Wending its way through the account of field days are Canby's insights into the daily affairs at the magazine: the unfolding of an article as it goes from idea to print, the strengths andweaknesses of editors and writers and the gods up there on the ninth floor, and a no-punches-pulled section on the firing of one editor who ran afoul of the governing board. In the end, Canby is still a company man, and in singing praise of the magazine he can go over the top. His comment that the magazine's contributors are given ``liberty to write in [their] own style,'' defies credibility: the magazine has one of the clearest and most identifiable editorial voices going. Still, Canby's field exploits make for enjoyable reading, and his detailing of the society's inner workings and turmoils will keep readers turning the pages. (photos and maps, not seen) -- Copyright ?1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. Read more See all Editorial Reviews