*Named a Best Book of the Year by The New Yorker and Literary Hub!* *A 2022 NBCC Awards Nonfiction Finalist and a 2023 Phillip D. Reed Environmental Writing Award Finalist*
From Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Proulx, this riveting deep dive into the history of our wetlands and what their systematic destruction means for the planet "is both an enchanting work of nature writing and a rousing call to action" (Esquire).
"I learned something new—and found something amazing—on every page."—Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See and Cloud Cuckoo Land A lifelong acolyte of the natural world, Annie Proulx brings her witness and research to the subject of wetlands and the vitally important role they play in preserving the environment—by storing the carbon emissions that accelerate climate change. Fens, bogs, swamps, and marine estuaries are crucial to the earth's survival, and in four illuminating parts, Proulx documents their systemic destruction in pursuit of profit.
In a vivid and revelatory journey through history, Proulx describes the fens of 16th-century England, Canada's Hudson Bay lowlands, Russia's Great Vasyugan Mire, and America's Okeefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. She introduces the early explorers who launched the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, and writes of the diseases spawned in the wetlands—the Ague, malaria, Marsh Fever.
A sobering look at the degradation of wetlands over centuries and the serious ecological consequences, this is "an unforgettable and unflinching tour of past and present, fixed on a subject that could not be more important" (Bill McKibben).
"A stark but beautifully written Silent Spring–style warning from one of our greatest novelists." —The Christian Science Monitor