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The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures
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Little, Brown and Company 2015
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Description
An award-winning author's quest to find and understand a creature as rare and enigmatic as any on EarthIn 1992, in a remote mountain range, a team of scientists discovered the remains of an unusual animal with exquisite long horns. It turned out to be a living species new to Western science—a saola, the first large land mammal discovered in fifty years.Rare then and rarer now, a live saola had never been glimpsed by a Westerner in the wild when Pulitzer Prize finalist and nature writer William deBuys and conservation biologist William Robichaud set off to search for it in central Laos. Their team endured a punishing trek up and down white-water rivers and through mountainous terrain ribboned with the snare lines of armed poachers who roamed the forest, stripping it of wildlife. In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin, Colin Thubron, and Peter Matthiessen, The Last Unicorn chronicles deBuys's journey deep into one of the world's most remote places. It's a story rich with the joys and sorrows of an expedition into undiscovered country, pursuing a species as rare and elusive as the fabled unicorn. As is true with the quest for the unicorn, in the end the expedition becomes a search for something more: the essence of wildness in nature, evidence that the soul of a place can endure, and the transformative power of natural beauty.
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Street Date:
03/10/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780316365710
ASIN:
B00LLIJ0JC
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APA Citation (style guide)

William deBuys. (2015). The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

William deBuys. 2015. The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures. Little, Brown and Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

William deBuys, The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures. Little, Brown and Company, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

William deBuys. The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures. Little, Brown and Company, 2015. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: William deBuys is the author of eight books, including River of Traps, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Pulitzer Prize nonfiction finalist; Enchantment and Exploitation; The Walk (an excerpt of which won a Pushcart Prize in 2008); and A Great Aridness. He lives in New Mexico.
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shortDescription
An award-winning author's stirring quest to find and understand an elusive and exceptionally rare species in the heart of Southeast Asia's jungles.
In 1992, in a remote mountain range, a team of scientists discovered the remains of an unusual animal with beautiful long horns. It turned out to be a living species new to western science — a saola, the first large land mammal discovered in 50 years.
Rare then and rarer now, no westerner had glimpsed a live saola before Pulitzer Prize finalist and nature writer William deBuys and conservation biologist William Robichaud set off to search for it in the wilds of central Laos. The team endured a punishing trek, up and down whitewater rivers and through mountainous terrain ribboned with the snare lines of armed poachers.
In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin, Colin Thubron, and Peter Matthiessen, THE LAST UNICORN is deBuys's look deep into one of the world's most remote places. As in the pursuit of the unicorn,...
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title
The Last Unicorn
fullDescription
An award-winning author's quest to find and understand a creature as rare and enigmatic as any on Earth
In 1992, in a remote mountain range, a team of scientists discovered the remains of an unusual animal with exquisite long horns. It turned out to be a living species new to Western science—a saola, the first large land mammal discovered in fifty years.
Rare then and rarer now, a live saola had never been glimpsed by a Westerner in the wild when Pulitzer Prize finalist and nature writer William deBuys and conservation biologist William Robichaud set off to search for it in central Laos. Their team endured a punishing trek up and down white-water rivers and through mountainous terrain ribboned with the snare lines of armed poachers who roamed the forest, stripping it of wildlife.
In the tradition of Bruce Chatwin, Colin Thubron, and Peter Matthiessen, The Last Unicorn chronicles deBuys's journey deep into one of the world's most remote places. It's a story rich with the joys and sorrows of an expedition into undiscovered country, pursuing a species as rare and elusive as the fabled unicorn. As is true with the quest for the unicorn, in the end the expedition becomes a search for something more: the essence of wildness in nature, evidence that the soul of a place can endure, and the transformative power of natural beauty.
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Last Unicorn A Search for One of Earths Rarest Creatures
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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Emily Anthes, New York Times
      • content: Lyrical... An adventure tale and a meditation, an evocative read that makes clear why wild places matter and how difficult it will be to save them.
      • premium: False
      • source: Nick Romeo, Christian Science Monitor
      • content: Simultaneously an adventure story, a melancholy parable of the challenges of conservation in an increasingly crowded world, and an engaging introduction to the biota of a unique ecosystem... However intractable the human tendency to pillage our environments, deBuys and Robichaud show the strength of an opposite impulse — to approach nature with wonder, knowledge, and a deep appreciation of beauty. DeBuys paints the disappearing landscapes of his journey with beautiful and evocative prose.
      • premium: False
      • source: Dean Kuipers, Orion Magazine
      • content: Not only a gorgeous adventure in one of the most remote forests on earth, but also a strategy for hope in an age of mass species extinction.... May this beautifully written book inspire a renewed commitment to the work.
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus (starred review)
      • content: The author deftly chronicles both the physical and emotional challenges that come with group travel through an isolated region.... The author's immersive narrative and numerous photos of the unremitting poaching inflicted upon the region's wildlife cause both reader engagement and heartache. A riveting and disturbing account of the clash between the beauty of the wilderness and civilization's unrelenting demands on the natural world.
      • premium: False
      • source: George Schaller, author of Tibet Wild; VP, Panthera; and senior conservationist, Wildlife Conservation Society
      • content: The Last Unicorn celebrates the marvels of the great forest and its wildlife, and William deBuys enlivens its pages with perceptive accounts of local people and cultures. Inspired and entranced by visions of the saola, DeBuys examines what little is known of its enigmatic life as he searches the landscape for glimpses of what we must hope is an enduring future for the natural treasures surviving in these remote mountains.
      • premium: False
      • source: Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home
      • content: This is a great excuse for an adventure—and having taken the excuse, Bill deBuys delivers. What a wonderful account of a 19th century drama in the 21st century, a story the likes of which we may never read again.
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: Conservation journalist deBuys deftly takes the role of a quiet observer while conveying a sense of immersion and intimacy.... With a wilderness-loving voice that is lyrical but never saccharine, deBuys elicits a sense of mystery and beauty befitting the creature itself.
      • premium: False
      • source: blown-glass waterfalls
      • content: The author dives deeper than any ecological treatise, showing readers the beauty of gibbon chatter and
      • premium: False
      • source: Carson Vaughan, Audubon
      • content: It's fortunate that a first-hand account of such a unique voyage exists. That it's written by a storyteller as commanding and reflective as William deBuys, well, that's just plain lucky.
      • premium: False
      • source: Alan Weisman, author of Countdown and The World Without Us
      • content: It would be an understatement to call a forest, in all its deep complexity, merely beautiful. The same goes for The Last Unicorn. As he tracks a living myth through the jungles of Laos, deBuys' eyes and ears miss nothing, and his poetic grace conveys everything. I haven't read a journey so epic, lyrical, and meaningful since Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard.
      • premium: False
      • source: Evaggelos Vallianatos, The Huffington Post
      • content: Read The Last Unicorn. The book is extremely important and reads like a novel. DeBuys brings things to life. He writes beautifully. The image of the saola remains alive in the reader's mind. Saola may be the last unicorn.
      • premium: False
      • source: Barbara Kiser, Nature
      • content: Like Peter Matthiessen's 1978 The Snow Leopard (Viking), this is less an homage to an iconic species than a meditation on our compulsion to harry and hem in the wild.
      • premium: False
      • source: Rob Merrill, Associated Press
      • content: The book will appeal to nonfiction readers who enjoy learning about flora, fauna and people in parts of the world they'll likely never visit. It's comforting to know there are people like Robichaud and writers like deBuys who are committed to sharing their stories. It's even more comforting to know their efforts could result in helping preserve the wildness of this world and the survival of a species.
      • premium: False
      • source: Dennis Drabelle, The Washington Post
      • content: Gripping and stylish.... DeBuys is an evocative writer.
      • premium: False
      • source: Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest
      • content: Imagine Josep
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        January 5, 2015
        Conservation journalist deBuys (A Great Aridness) deftly takes the role of a quiet observer while conveying a sense of immersion and intimacy as he documents a 2011 expedition for signs of the saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), led by field biologist William Robichaud. A phylogenetically distinctive, preternaturally peaceful, reclusive, and nearly extinct ungulate entirely unknown to Western science until 1992, the saola is so rare that it does not even appear in traditional Chinese medicine. In Nakai-Nam Theun, a remote region of Laos on the border of Vietnam, the team drills bits of bone from old antler mounts, places camera traps at salt licks, and scans the forest for evidence of neatly munched vegetation. Showing much admiration for Robichaud and the relationships he has built with the community, deBuys shares stories of the challenging interactions between the locals and Robichaud the outsider, doing so with humor. With a wilderness-loving voice that is lyrical but never saccharine, deBuys elicits a sense of mystery and beauty befitting the creature itself. Maps & photos. Agent: Melissa Chinchillo, Fletcher and Co.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from January 1, 2015
        Dedicated conservationist deBuys (A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest, 2011 etc.) undertakes an arduous trek through the wilds of central Laos in a quest to help save one of the most elusive animals on the planet, the large grazing mammal known as a saola.Following a 2009 lecture in Washington, D.C., in which the author evaluated ongoing efforts to save a forest in central Borneo, he received an intriguing offer. In 1992, the world outside of Southeast Asia became aware of a mysterious mammal when scientists came across a pair of extraordinarily long, tapered horns decorating the wall of a Vietnamese hunter's cabin. Did deBuys have an interest in writing about this reclusive horned animal never seen by Westerners? Two years later, the author traveled to the Annamite mountain range, situated on the border between Laos and Vietnam. He joined an expedition whose immediate goals included studying the animal's habitat, documenting the consistent threat of poaching, and building support for wildlife conservation among the region's inhabitants to "save the saola from extinction." The group traveled through the rugged terrain by car, boat and foot, accompanied by armed guards and porters, to their final destination in a remote forested canyon. The author deftly chronicles both the physical and emotional challenges that come with group travel through an isolated region. He also weaves in abbreviated natural histories of the multitude of indigenous creatures in the area-e.g., the red-shanked douc and ferret badger. DeBuys laments the destruction of the natural environment caused by the illegal harvesting of forest products. The author's immersive narrative and numerous photos of the unremitting poaching inflicted upon the region's wildlife cause both reader engagement and heartache. A riveting and disturbing account of the clash between the beauty of the wilderness and civilization's unrelenting demands on the natural world.

        COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        January 1, 2015

        Award-winning author of books including A Great Aridness and River of Traps recounts his journey to the Nakai-Nam Theun region of Laos in search of the saola, an endangered antelopelike creature that has rarely been seen by man. First discovered by Westerners in 1992, the saola piqued interest because of its genetic linkage to prehistoric bovines. As deBuys notes, the creature recalls the mythical unicorn as it has largely evaded discovery, leaving scientists to piece together information based on bone samples, hunter accounts, and photographic evidence. In this book, deBuys narrates the story of the saola through his own experience, showing how poaching, indifference, climate change, and greed continue to threaten the animals' survival. However, the author dives deeper than any ecological treatise, showing readers the beauty of gibbon chatter and "blown-glass waterfalls" and the sheer emotional toil of losing these things. In the tradition of John McPhee and Wallace Stegner, deBuys offers a profoundly personal, richly atmospheric account of a place that the world would be poorer for losing. VERDICT Recommended for readers of popular science, travel, and autobiography.--Talea Anderson, College Place, WA

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 15, 2015
        When conservationist and writer (A Great Aridness, 2013) deBuys was asked, How would you like to write about saola? his response was what most of us would then ask: About what? The saola, a large animal related to antelope and cattle, only became known to Western science in 1992 and since has been found to not only be rare but also under constant threat from poaching. The author and a field biologist and saola expert set off in 2011 for the Annamite Mountains of Laos and Vietnam, the sole home of the saola. In a journey that is as much diplomatic as it is scientific reconnaissance, the two men and their local Lao colleagues traverse Laos' Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area on foot in search of saola. Disarming snare lines as they go, the group replaces wildlife camera traps and searches for signs of saola and other endangered species. Bickering among themselves as the trails get difficult or disappear and food runs low, they find and destroy poachers' camps and try to engage community support for conserving the forest and its animals. The beauty of the terrain, the complexity of working with local community's conflicting needs, and the wish to bear witness to the diminishing forest all come through in deBuys' heartfelt text.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

subtitle
A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures
popularity
45
publisher
Little, Brown and Company
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