On Trails: An Exploration

Sold by Simon and Schuster
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New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award • Winner of the Saroyan International Prize for Writing • Winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award • “The best outdoors book of the year.” —Sierra Club

From a talent who’s been compared to Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey, David Quammen, and Jared Diamond, On Trails is a wondrous exploration of how trails help us understand the world—from invisible ant trails to hiking paths that span continents, from interstate highways to the Internet.

While thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others fade? What makes us follow or strike off on our own? Over the course of seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. He learned the tricks of master trail-builders, hunted down long-lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet. In each chapter, Moor interweaves his adventures with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing.

Throughout, Moor reveals how this single topic—the oft-overlooked trail—sheds new light on a wealth of age-old questions: How does order emerge out of chaos? How did animals first crawl forth from the seas and spread across continents? How has humanity’s relationship with nature and technology shaped world around us? And, ultimately, how does each of us pick a path through life?

Moor has the essayist’s gift for making new connections, the adventurer’s love for paths untaken, and the philosopher’s knack for asking big questions. With a breathtaking arc that spans from the dawn of animal life to the digital era, On Trails is a book that makes us see our world, our history, our species, and our ways of life anew.
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About the author

Robert Moor has written for Harper’s, n+1, New York, and GQ, among other publications. A recipient of the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, he has won multiple awards for his nonfiction writing. He lives in Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia. On Trails is his first book.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jul 12, 2016
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781476739243
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Essays
Science / Environmental Science
Social Science / Anthropology / General
Travel / Special Interest / Hikes & Walks
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The acclaimed author of Founding Gardeners reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt, the visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world—and in the process created modern environmentalism.

NATIONAL BEST SELLER

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, The James Wright Award for Nature Writing, the Costa Biography Award, the Royal Geographic Society's Ness Award, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award

Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the Kirkus Prize Prize for Nonfiction, the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award

A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, Nature, Jezebel, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, New Scientist, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Evening Standard, The Spectator

Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone.

Now Andrea Wulf brings the man and his achievements back into focus: his daring expeditions and investigation of wild environments around the world and his discoveries of similarities between climate and vegetation zones on different continents. She also discusses his prediction of human-induced climate change, his remarkable ability to fashion poetic narrative out of scientific observation, and his relationships with iconic figures such as Simón Bolívar and Thomas Jefferson. Wulf examines how Humboldt’s writings inspired other naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth, and Goethe, and she makes the compelling case that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of natural preservation and that shaped Thoreau’s Walden.

With this brilliantly researched and compellingly written book, Andrea Wulf shows the myriad fundamental ways in which Humboldt created our understanding of the natural world, and she champions a renewed interest in this vital and lost player in environmental history and science.


From the Hardcover edition.
The finest guidebook ever written for the Big Island. Now you can plan your best vacation—ever. This all new eighth edition is a candid, humorous guide to everything there is to see and do on the Big Island. Best-selling author and longtime Hawai‘i resident, Andrew Doughty, unlocks the secrets of an island so vast and diverse that many visitors never realize all that it has to offer. Explore with him as he reveals breathtaking trails, secluded beaches, pristine reefs, delicious places to dine, relaxing resorts, an active volcano and so much more. Every restaurant, activity provider, business and resort is reviewed personally and anonymously. This book and a rental car are all you need to discover what makes the Big Island so exciting.

• The most accurate up-to-date information available anyplace with up-to-the-minute changes posted to our website
• Frank, brutally honest reviews of restaurants, hotels and activities show you which companies really are the best...and which to avoid—no advertisements
• Driving tours let you structure your trip your way, point out sights not to be missed along the way and are complemented over 200 spectacular color photographs
• 36 specially created maps in an easy-to-follow format with mile markers—so you’ll always know where you are on the island
• Clear, concise directions to those hard-to-find places such as deserted black sand beaches, tropical rain forests, hidden waterfalls, the most dramatic part of the erupting volcano, freshwater lava pools (some volcanically heated) and scores of other hidden gems listed nowhere else
• Exclusive chapter on Big Island’s beaches with detailed descriptions including ocean safety
• Unique Activities and Adventures chapters of exciting activities from ATVs to ziplines
• All new and expanded island dining chapter
• Fascinating sections on Hawai‘i’s history, culture, language and legends
• Companion website with links to every business, events calendar, 90 resort reviews complete with aerial photos—so you’ll know if oceanfront really means oceanfront

"Hawaii The Big Island Revealed" covers it all—from the snow-covered top of Mauna Kea, to the sparkling underwater reefs. This is the best investment you can make for your Big Island visit. Whether you are a first time visitor, or a longtime kama‘aina, you will find out more about the Big Island from this book than from any other source. Discover the island of your dreams with "Hawaii The Big Island Revealed".
The finest guidebook ever written for Kaua‘i. Now you can plan your best vacation— ever. This all new tenth edition is a candid, humorous guide to everything there is to see and do on the island. Best-selling author and longtime Hawai‘i resident, Andrew Doughty, unlocks the secrets of an island so lush and diverse that many visitors never realize all that it has to offer. Explore with him as he reveals breathtaking trails, secluded beaches, pristine reefs, delicious places to dine, relaxing resorts, exciting waterfalls, colorful canyons and so much more. Every restaurant, activity provider, business and resort is reviewed personally and anonymously. This book and a rental car are all you need to discover what makes Kaua‘i so exciting.
• The most up-to-date and accurate information available with up-to-the-minute changes posted on our website
• Frank, brutally honest reviews of restaurants, hotels and activities show you which companies really are the best...and which to avoid—no advertisements
• Driving tours let you structure your trip your way, point out sights not to be missed along the way and are complemented by over 100 spectacular color photographs
• 15 specially created maps in an easy-to-follow format with mile markers so you’ll always know where you are on the island
• Clear, concise directions to those hard-to-find places, such as deserted beaches, tropical jungles, hidden waterfalls, rugged scenic coastlines, water-filled lava pools and scores of other hidden gems listed nowhere else
• Exclusive chapter on Kaua‘i’s beaches with detailed descriptions, including ocean safety
• Unique Adventures chapter and over 70 pages of exciting activities from ATVs to ziplines
• Fascinating sections on Hawai‘i’s history, culture, language and legends
• Companion website with links to every business, events calendar, over 70 resort reviews complete with aerial photos—so you’ll know if oceanfront really means oceanfront
“The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook” covers it all—from the mile-high summit of Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale, to the sparkling underwater reefs. This is the best investment you can make for your Kaua‘i visit. Whether you are a first time visitor or a longtime kama‘aina, you will find out more about Kaua‘i from this book than from any other source. Discover the island of your dreams with “The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook.”
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