50. 100 Heartbeats by Jeff Corwin

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50. 100 Heartbeats by Jeff Corwin

Post  twunny on Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:17 am

The "Hundred Heartbeat Club" refers to an unofficial listing of certain endangered species. An animal is said to be in the club if it is generally thought to have fewer than 100 members living in the wild.

This book is...kind of about that. It does mention several species that fall under that heading. It also meanders around lots of species that used to be in the club but are now considered recovered, ones that are now extinct, and some that may be in danger of joining. The idea is using it as a symbol of true danger to animals, ecosystems, and the planet as a whole. But it didn't really work for me. The symbol of 100 Heartbeats seemed to me like it should have referred to the 100 most endangered species, or the 100 we might most be able to help, or...something else. Corwin got the term for the club from somewhere, but the book left me feeling that while he really cares and he is really good at his job, he is not very good at getting his point across.

The book is not very well written. It's a little clinical, the stories are superficial, and he only occasionally segued. It was an example of why things sometimes fail to get done. Intelligent people try to bring about vital change, but they cannot rally. It was depressing on the level it intended, and for another, larger reason: I didn't get the impression that anything was going to get any better.

My verdict: read "Last Chance to See" instead, and think about this: the Yangtze River Dolphin they saw 20 years ago is extinct now.

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