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  Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion
May 2005 (Farrar Straus and Giroux)

A stunning work of narrative nonfiction that asks: What is nature?

Now as never before, exotic animals and plants are crossing the globe, borne on the swelling tide of human traffic to places where nature never intended them to be. Bird-eating snakes hitchhike to Hawaii in the landing gear of airliners; pernicious European zebra mussels, Surprising, delightful, and sobering--it will take your breath away...Malcolm Gladwellriding in ships' ballast water, disrupt aquatic ecosystems across the United States; feral camels and poisonous foreign toads plague Australia; giant Indonesian pythons lurk beneath homes in suburban Miami. As alien species jump from place to place and increasingly crowd native and endangered species of existence, biologists speak fearfully of "the homogenization of the world" as alien species jump from place to place and increasingly crowd native and endangered species out of existence. Never mind bulldozers and pesticides: the fastest-growing threat to biological diversity may be nature itself.

Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion   is a dazzling, personal journey through this strange and shifting landscape. Alan Burdick tours the front lines of ecological invasion: in Hawaii, Tasmania, Guam, San Francisco; in lush rainforests, through underground lava tubes, aboard an Alaska-bound oil tanker, inside a spacecraft-assembly facility at NASA. He follows world-class scientists — invasion biologists, "mix-o-ecologists" — and a global cast of alien species, to ask: What exactly is nature? What is natural?

Lyrical, intimate, and provocative, Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion is a search both for scientific answers and for ecological authenticity, from a writer of remarkable range and talent.

  2005 National Book Award finalist
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Out of Eden
 
    © alan burdick 2005