You might not think that sounds like fun, but if you’d like to understand the people who do, The Back Road to Crazy will take you as close to nutty as you can get without setting foot in a desert or a riverbed. And if you do share the desire to jeopardize your skin and bones for the cause of protecting a species, this book will make you long for the moment when you can get back into your waders and drive the work truck into a world of uncertainty — and mud.
Jennifer Bové — a seasoned field biologist who has wagered her own life against slippery rocks, idiotic field assistants and a territorial cougar in order to get good data — has pulled together the accounts of more than 25 field biologists with a knack for storytelling. They recount often grueling but always memorable field escapades, including marmot chases, snake bites, sprained ankles and skin-searing temperatures. These writers and poets may seem crazy, but if they didn’t put their die-hard concern for animals over their own well-being, the imperiled creatures that still roam the earth would be in far worse shape than they already are.
The Back Road to Crazy: Stories from the Field Edited by Jennifer Bové 232 pages, softcover $19.95: University of Utah Press, 2005.