Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America

Twelve: Grand Central. Dec. 2022. 336p. ISBN 9781538755198. $30. SCI
Award-winning author Philip (A Family Place) explores the multitude of impacts that beavers have on America’s history, ecosystem, and culture in this entertaining, thought-provoking book. From their role in western expansion and the fur trade, to the architecture and impact of beaver dams on waterways and biodiversity, Philip reflects on the beaver’s significance in American history as she meets with memorable people invested in their futures. Philip successfully distills the many complex worlds that beavers inhabit into both a compelling wildlife portrait and ethnography. She interrogates these different worlds with humor and compassion. The book balances storytelling, history, and science in an accessible way that will appeal widely to fans of history and ecology. It is effectively grounded in Indigenous wisdom and infused with curiosity and a personal narrative that will help readers gain a new respect for these dynamic creatures. Those interested in further reading about beavers may also enjoy Derek Gow’s Bringing Back the Beaver: The Story of One Man’s Quest To Rewild Britain’s Waterways.
VERDICT A fascinating and unexpected exploration that gives beavers a deserved spotlight.
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