Tenacious Beasts book

Praise for Tenacious Beasts:

“In the midst of ecological crisis, Preston brings genuinely good news: a few of our fellow species are not only thriving, but demanding that we do better by the rest of life on Earth.”

Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts

“What a joy this book is! Fascinating, intelligent, pragmatic, and moving. Preston’s tenacious beasts show us how to live with nature and claim a more hopeful future for our planet.”

Isabella Tree, author of Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm

“Author Christopher Preston would be first to acknowledge that many species are in trouble. But you know that. What you should also know—what this book shows—is that many species that once seemed doomed have posted surprising recoveries. All they ask is a fighting chance to survive; all I ask is that you read this book.”

Carl Safina, author of Becoming Wild and Beyond Words

“With grace and good cheer, Tenacious Beasts recounts the messy, fitful recovery of iconic creatures and the conservation approaches making their return possible. Preston offers vital insight to preserve biodiversity on our troubled, glorious planet.”

Ben Goldfarb, author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

“Preston has achieved something remarkable: a fascinating synthesis of storytelling and science, reporting and philosophy to probe wildlife–human successes, distilling from them an understanding of how they were made possible by shifts in human perspectives. Tenacious Beasts is both deeply insightful and a page-turning read.”

Peter Stark, author of Astoria: Astor and Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire

“A captivating and astute understanding of how wild animals conduct their lives.”

Rick McIntyre, author of The Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone series

“[A] page-turning account…Many animals headed for extinction are recovering nicely, writes science writer and teacher Preston, who delivers a satisfying account of a dozen successes without minimizing the difficulties involved… Traveling the world, Preston interacted with researchers, activists, and Indigenous people working to restore animals to their former ecosystems, most of which now contain far more humans than before…Rare, well-delivered positive news about animals and the natural world.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Pragmatic and inspirational, Tenacious Beasts celebrates the species that “exist in the same bewildering net of life and time as we do,” yet are rebounding.”

Lithub (What to Read after Avatar)

“Preston’s fascinating book is not only about the very precarious state of countless endangered species, but also about how evolution is fighting back against mankind’s over-exploitation and destruction: how animal species are recovering from these devastating diminishment.”

Foreword Reviews (full review)

“The surprisingly intimate accounts of species bouncing back from the brink of extinction serve as glimmers of hope against the backdrop of climate despair.”

Publishers Weekly (full review)

“Preston writes with the goal of highlighting promising partnerships, building on lessons learned from animals themselves, and questioning long-held beliefs about wildlife and conservation….an excellent recommendation to readers searching for thoughtful but hopeful books on the future of nature”

Library Journal Review (starred review)

This is a fascinating and uplifting book. Preston has an eye for an interesting nugget of natural history and the tales he tells of wildlife decline and recovery are by turns horrifying and heartwarming…….A welcome recurring theme is his attempts to solicit the perspectives of members of the local Indigenous groups, adding significantly to the diversity of voices in the debates. What shines through is simple pragmatism. 

Geographical (full review)

Preston is an engaging tour guide through the world of species recovery, offering a nicely non-American-centric point of view, a conversational tone with occasional lyrical flights, a host of fascinating details, and a number of stimulating and deeply thoughtful questions about how we can change in the way we talk and think of our relationships to the animal world. Tenacious Beasts gifts us with a few positive stories amidst the tragedy and carnage, and offers up a glimmer or two of hope if we can only heed the lessons those stories are trying to tell us. Highly recommended.

FantasyLiterature.com (full review)

“Instead of presenting a look-what-I-discovered-during-my-globetrotting account, the University of Montana professor draws impressively on his environmental philosophy chops. Heartening…… Uplifting…… Fascinating.”

Washington Independent Review of Books (full review)

 “Preston’s book is a compelling step toward a different approach to conserving wildlife.”

Barn Raiser (full review)

Author’s description:

At the end of my book, The Synthetic Age, I told a story about a worker killed by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. After writing nearly two hundred pages about the desire to re-engineer our surroundings with technology, I wanted to emphasize that every attempt at control falls short. The biological world still startles us. It retains the power to push back against our best-laid plans.

My new book explores nature’s resilience much further. Tenacious Beasts is filled with hope about wildlife recoveries. It profiles a dozen recovering species and asks what they can teach. Wolves in Europe, bison on America’s Great Plains, and humpback whales in the Pacific are among the species experiencing spectacular comebacks. Through interviews, site visits, and detailed research, I explore how these recoveries have happened.

Returning animals can be uplifting, for sure, but they also challenge us. They make demands on those accustomed to living without them. They force changes in perspective and shifts in values. On farmland, prairie, rivers, forests, and oceans, I investigate what a twenty-first-century concept of wildlife might look like.

This book charts the contours of an optimistic future with wildlife. It envisions a fresh way to exist alongside the natural world. Tenacious Beasts is a blend of optimism and surprise about a future lived harmoniously alongside our animal kin.

Garrett Lau via Flickr

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