Reviews of Searching for Pekpek

 

Searching for Pekpek: Cassowaries and Conservation in the New Guinea Rainforest has been featured on the December/January issue as one of Shelf Unbound Magazine's, Shelf Unbound Notable 100 for 2015. Shelf Unbound is a book review magazine and each issue reaches 125,000 readers across the globe!

This is the truest funniest book about conservation ever written. It will make you laugh; it will make you cry. It will make you itch. Crazyin- a-good-way ornithologist Andy Mack recounts his journey from science geek to sadder-andwiser- though-not-defeated conservation stalwart. It traces the great arc of conservation over the past 30 years: promises of cancer cures to ecotourism to carbon credits and an assortment of conservation paradigms, most conceived of by well-meaning people half a world away.

 

 -- Ellen Paul
Conservation Gateway,
The Nature Conservancy

 

I have just finished reading Searching for Pekpek (at 3 AM this morning – It's so good, I literally couldn’t put it down!)

What an amazing story – and beautifully told. It's Bill Bryson meets Bill McKibben, in turns funny, poignant, informative, depressing, and inspiring. Everyone who works for “Big Conservation” (or contributes to them) should read it – as should every graduate student or academic whose work depends on field research. 

 

 -- Robert McCracken Peck
Senior Fellow,
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

 

Your book is fantastic.  I am most of the way through it and I'm buying it for other friends (and a star student of mine who is heading for a PhD program at CalTech).  There aren't too many scientists that can write for the general public.  I think you've done a great job. 

 

 -- William H.J. Strosnider, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor: Environmental Engineering Director: Center for Watershed Research & Service
Saint Francis University

 

 

The book is absolutely wonderful - an erudite and straight-talking breath of fresh air!

 -- Jemima Garrett 
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 

 

Your book is fantastic.  I am most of the way through it and I'm buying it for other friends (and a star student of mine who is heading for a PhD program at CalTech).  There aren't too many scientists that can write for the general public.  I think you've done a great job. 

 

 -- William H.J. Strosnider, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor: Environmental Engineering Director: Center for Watershed Research & Service
Saint Francis University

 

 

"An absolute must read for serious students of research and conservation, particularly for those working in the world's rainforests and in partnership with indigenous people. Dr. Andrew L Mack's book about his 20 years in Papua New Guinea shines a bright light on the effort, struggle, politics and relationships so necessary to understand if one is to be successful working in these amazing places. Humorous, bluntly honest, and insightful this narrative explains Andy's personal transformation from a pure researcher to a conservationist. A critical look at conservation warts and all"

 -- Doug Cartan

 

 

"I was home in the middle of the day yesterday when "Pekpek" arrived in the mail. I had been doing an errand and thought I was going back to the lab, but not to be. I read Pekpek in one sitting. I laughed, I was riveted, I anguished, I was mesmerized.

How you found the research station site and the story was fantastic. I felt the feeling of a chopper coming in to the helipad...

Your description of [the two captive cassowaries] and their higher brain functions were excellent and funny.

Congratulations on the book. What an excellent job! "

 -- Dave G.
Frederick, MD 

 

"There's no place on Earth like New Guinea, and no better guide than Andy Mack.  If you can't get there yourself, by all means follow him on this wondrous, purposeful journey, searching for pekpek and finding that plus so much more."

 -- David Quammen, Author and Journalist
Winner of an Academy Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, three-time recipient of the
National Magazine Award. Author of The Song of the Dodo, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin and Spillover

 

“[your book is] a worthy companion on bookshelves beside works by Tim Flannery, Tim Cahill, Mark Plotkin, Katy Payne. You have a great story and tell it beautifully, with humor suspense and pathos.  I laughed out loud, gasped,…it is just hilarious and breathtaking all over the place....I loved reading this book.”                                                                                                 

 -- Sy Montgomery

 

"Part memoir, part travel narrative, and part scholarly examination of the failures of conservation over the past thirty years, this beautifully written book tells the story of a life dedicated to science that through its interactions with the people of Papua New Guinea, because a life committed to an extraordinary form of social justice.

Andrew Mack arrived in Papua New Guinea as a bright-eyed 28-year-old PhD student who hungered for adventure and was a true believer in big conservation. Over the course of the life that he narrates so beautifully in this book, he does one of the most complex studies of the relationship between birds and forest structure ever done, he and his partner Deb Wright build a world class research station in one of the most remote, and biologically diverse, sites on our planet, he watches the country he has come to love descend into a new form of violence that is unlike anything experienced historically by his Papua New Guinean friends, he brings one of the big international conservation NGOs to the country permanently and helps establish one of the first wildlife management areas in Melanesia, and he gets to know big-conservation inside out.   All of Mack’s experiences working as a scientist in Papua New Guinea led to the conclusion that the best way to affect positive change and conservation in the country is to train young Papua New Guineans as scientists and give them the tools to direct conservation in their country. I call this a form of social justice because it relinquishes the desire to control the outcomes of conservation in the country and truly believes that Papua New Guineans deserve the right to define their own ecological destiny.

This is an extraordinary book, written by an extraordinary man.                                                                                      

 -- Paige West, Tow Professor of Anthropology,
Barnard College and Columbia University

 

"Mack's book reads like a page-turning novel with drama, intrigue, and sometimes hilarious incidents..... Mack writes with an intellectual sense of humor inserted in unlikely places, almost comic relief at times that could have been way to serious...."

 -- MaryAnn Gogniat Eidemiller
Latrobe Bulletin

 

"Mack's warm and compassionate approach to his writing creates a book not just for fellow scientists, but one from which anyone could learn something. "

 -- Rebecca Ridinger
Ligonier Echo

 

The cassowary’s role in seed dispersal is an interesting topic, but not something that can anchor the narrative of a book such as this. But it doesn’t have to. Mack’s story is not so much the study itself, but the story behind the study – what it took to make it happen. And that was fascinating.

 -- Grant McCreary
Self-Publising Review

 

Though the book begins with Mack establishing a research station for studying seed dispersal (among other things), it soon opens up, like a gap in the canopy, to encompass political and social issues of biological research and particularly of conservation efforts.

 -- Avery Hurt
Self-Publising Review

 

 

To purchase your copy of Searching for Pekpek: Cassowaries and Conservation in the New Guinea Rainforest today, visit our Buy the Book page to learn how.

 

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