A handsome, thoughtful record of nature observation and conceptual ecology in a very hard place to live.
—New York Times
A superb piece of natural history writing.
An eminently accessible piece of natural history.
We might mistake it for merely a sweet book of observations by a man who studies wasps and butterflies in the desert of central Arizona. It is that, but not merely that. John Alcock is an ecologist with a patient eye, a broad curiosity and a head full of well-honed questions, and this is his rumination about the way the world works. . . . The real charm of Mr. Alcock's book is that, while he tells us such cerebral things, he also shows us that scientific cognition isn't the only way to experience a glorious ecosystem.
—David Quammen, New York Times Book Review
Alcock captures the wonder and the science behind the lives of wood-boring beetles, zebra-tailed lizards, round-tailed ground squirrels, elk owls and saguaro caccti, among other species, during both the desert summers: sizzling, cloudless dry days of May and June, and the intermittent thunderstorms and downpours of the late summer monsoon season.
—High Country News
For anyone who has the slightest interest in the desert and its creatures, opening Alcock's book is like opening your eyes in the morning.
—Arizona Daily Star
The reader gets the sensation of traveling with the author through this landscape, at times learning from the professor and at other times sitting back and enjoying a beautiful place. It's a delightful mix.
Thought-provoking and instructive and by no means lacking in appreciation of the beauties of nature . . . sound scientific natural history writing at its best.
—Journal of Arid Environments