Selected as a Best Nonfiction Book of the Year 2021 by Bookshop staff:
This book is part of our 2021–2022 Winter Reading Program:
Mary Roach is back and is proving once again that she truly is “America’s funniest science writer.” In her latest book, Roach delves into the world of human–nature conflict. She travels the world, speaking with experts and joining them in the field as she learns about everything from invasive rodents to trampling elephants. With her trademark wit, Roach investigates the many ways that people have tried to change the course of nature for their own comfort and/or profit, generally with disastrous results. As always, she excels at taking unfamiliar scientific concepts and presenting them in a way that’s both easy and enjoyable to absorb.
“Human encounters with wildlife are increasing as land development shrinks wildlife habitat. Roach recounts dangerous engagements, some head-shaking practices, and plenty of laugh-out-loud turf wars.”
— Kay Wosewick, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
What's to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.
Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and danger tree faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter's Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.
Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature's lawbreakers. When it comes to problem wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem--and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.