Cover image for Into the porcupine cave and other odysseys : adventures of an occasional naturalist
Into the porcupine cave and other odysseys : adventures of an occasional naturalist
Warner, William W.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : National Geographic, [1999]

Physical Description:
247 pages ; 22 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QH81 .W29 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QH81 .W29 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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When William Warner's first book, Beautiful Swimmers, was published more than 20 years ago, Larry McMurtry hailed it as "a new kind of classic...modest, intimate, and very personal." And a classic it proved to be, winning a Pulitzer Prize and the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers who found its blend of elegance, engaging insight, and soft-spoken erudition to be irresistible.Into the Porcupine Cave finds William Warner still at the top of his form: charming, knowledgeable, adventurous, and ever alert to the wonderful variety of the world around us. He doesn't look at things, he looks into them, and shares what he has learned with a simple, graceful eloquence that combines a childlike sense of discovery and an adult sophistication all the more winning for its modesty. With quiet wisdom and infectious wonder, William Warner throws open the windows of the natural world and teaches us to see.William Warner's adventures have taken him from the southernmost point of South America to North America's northernmost permanent Eskimo community. He's been mobbed by howler monkeys in the Guatemalan rain forest, cruised the Florida Keys in the company of hardcore birders, and experienced the solitude of Maine's most isolated lighthouse. Always and everywhere, he has looked around him with the fascination of a born naturalist.

Author Notes

Author William W. Warner was born in Manhattan, New York in 1920. In 1943, he received a bachelor's degree in geology from Princeton University. He joined the Naval Reserve and was called to active duty during World War II where he served as an aerial photoanalyst in the South Pacific. After the war, he opend a ski lodge in Stowe, Vermount and taught high school English. In 1953, he worked in Central and South America organizing cultural programs for the United States Information Agency. In 1961, he was the Peace Corps. program coordinator for Latin America. He worked at the Smithsonian Institution from 1964 to 1972. He wrote four books during his lifetime. Beautiful Swimmers, a study of crabs and watermen in the Chesapeake Bay, won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1977 and has never gone out of print. He also wrote Distant Water: The Fate of the North Atlanic Fisherman, At Peace with All Their Neighbors, and Into the Porcupine Cave and Other Odysseys. He died from complications of Alzheimer's disease on April 18, 2008.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Although ever popular, nature essays work best without heavy-handed hectoring about saving the planet. Warner proves this point with essays that show through implicitness the worth of preserving beleaguered habitats. Warner is also an engaging storyteller, employing travelogue technique to present his observations. He got hooked on nature during boyhood summers spent exploring New Jersey's Barnegat Bay; a prep school escapade to capture porcupines is both fun and wistful to read, as it precedes two essays in which figures a college friend and fellow dino digger who died in the naval battles of Guadalcanal. Warner's job in the war, photointerpretation, took him to Peleliu, where he ironically juxtaposes the beauty of its coral reefs with the noise and sights of combat. A second group of essays represent Warner's trips in later life, among them birding in the Florida Keys and hiking in Maine. Projecting a humble wonderment regarding the variety of environments here visited--arctic to rain forest--Warner's musings are most suitable for nature lovers. --Gilbert Taylor

Publisher's Weekly Review

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Beautiful Swimmers, which focused on life around the Chesapeake Bay, now recounts his own nature-centered adventures around the globe, from New England to Tierra del Fuego to the jungles of Guatemala. In the opening essay, Warner describes his youthful escapade in a New England cave, where he and a friend tracked and awakened a group of about a dozen sleeping porcupines; Warner captured two of them barehanded. Next comes his account of how, during his college years, he participated in a dinosaur dig in Utah. Warner moves on to describe a birdwatching tour in the Dry Tortugas where he watched the watchers, a solo camping trip in the Maine woods at the height of the black fly season, and his encounter with a giant barracuda in the South Pacific. Whether his topic is howler monkeys, killer whales or old lighthouses, the author, a polished writer and perceptive observer of nature (including human), invariably informs and entertains. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved