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The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 11. Januar 2010

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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 271 Seiten
  • Verlag: Lyons Pr; Auflage: 1 (11. Januar 2010)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1599215551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599215556
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,1 x 15,7 x 3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 480.014 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"[A] compelling, all-angles examination. . . . Laufer delivers an absorbing science lesson for fans of the colorful bugs." --"Publishers Weekly""" "Recommended for scientists and lay readers who enjoyed Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief."" --"Library Journal" "Like "The Orchid Thief," "The Dangerous World of Butterflies" takes us deep into the dark heart of obsessed collectors and the passionate activism of people working to repopulate species like the Palos Verdes blue. Worlds within worlds: Laufer, a veteran reporter on cultural and political borders, understands how these worlds cross and collide. His book is a Venn diagram of the beautiful and bizarre." --"Los Angeles Times""" "[Laufer's] book is charming and his attention to detail, combined with a real gift for describing these fascinating characters -- like calling entomologist Arthur Shapiro "an endless litany of intriguing butterfly stories" -- made me want to read everything else he has written." --Andrew Ervin, "Washington Post""" ..".Laufer's "The Dangerous World of Butterflies" packs real entertainment wallop in a book filled with informed tidbits custom-designed for cocktail hour." --P. Joseph Potocki, "The Bohemian""" "A charming . . . meditation on butterflies and the people who love them." --"Kirkus""" ""The Dangerous World of Butterflies: the Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists" by Peter Laufer is an eye-opening peek into the world of butterfly collecting. From true crime to heated debates between butterfly conservationists and butterfly farmers, this book reads like a novel." --"Pittsburgh Post-Gazette""" "Like "The Orchid Thief," a book that exposed many unexpected aspects connected to another of nature's beautiful gifts, "The Dangerous World of Butterflies" is an entertaining, enlightening read." --"Seattle Times" "Laufer weaves his tale with a genial flair. . . . The journey with Laufer is one well worth taking." --"Audubon""" "From the natural history and ecology

Klappentext

War weary after writing a book about Iraq and psychologically fatigued by a career of reporting bad and sad news, Peter Laufer jokingly said his next book would be about butterflies and flowers, simple analogies for peace and love. The result: an invitation to a butterfly preserve in Nicaragua where he soon discovered the behind-the-scenes world of collectors, criminals, and cops obsessed with one of nature’s most compelling miracles.
 
The Dangerous World of Butterflies chronicles Laufer’s adventures within the butterfly industry and the butterfly underground. He examines the allure of butterflies and recounts the constant role they have played throughout history and across cultures in mythology and art. But his research takes an unpredictable turn into the high-stake realms of organized crime, ecological devastation, species depletion, the integrity of museum collections, and chaos theory.
 
Along with beauty and renewal, the butterfly has become an unwitting symbol for greed and vanity. Laufer’s widely praised journey of discovery throughout the Americas and beyond offers a rare look into a theater of intrigue, peopled with quirky and nefarious characters—all in pursuit of these delicate, beautiful creatures.
 
Read this book, and your garden—and the world—will never look quite the same.
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch .

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book lets you in on a world far removed from most imaginations about butterflies. A world that has all the subplots of a great criminal mystery story (good guys/bad guys)with the lives of butterflies hanging in the balance.
Well written and researched. A great read from a well read author.
After finishing this book, I bought a field guide to butterflies and have now begun to understand more about a life I had only enjoyed from an outsiders perspective.
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Amazon.com: 41 Rezensionen
43 von 47 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
If you don't know anything about butterflies and want to stay that way, this is the book for you 10. Januar 2011
Von an intelligent ignoramus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I am a professional entomologist, so my perspective may be written off by some as that of a "pompous scientist." Nevertheless, I found "The Dangerous World of Butterflies" to be one of the worst nonfiction books I have ever read. It is sloppy, superficial and arrogant.

The premise of the book is this: a professional writer/war correspondent decides to take some time off from his "serious" book projects to write about butterflies - "creatures of airiness and frivolity" (H. W. Bates, 1865). I have never read (and never will read) another book by Peter Laufer, but if this work is representative of the quality of his usual journalistic scholarship, then someone should revoke his Ph.D. and his license to write nonfiction.

Laufer's research for this effort seems to have been composed of interviews with a rather arbitrarily selected (and California-centric) group of lepidopterists, ranging from university professors like Tom Emmel (U. Florida), Art Shapiro (U. C. Davis) and Robert Dudley (U. C. Berkeley) to North American Butterfly Association founder and ardent butterfly watcher and anti-collector Jeff Glassberg, to a couple who run a commercial butterfly farm in Nicaragua, to artists who use butterflies or their parts to make various displays, to other scientists engaged in habitat restoration and captive-rearing for population restoration of endangered butterfly species. The "dangerous" part implied by the title relates to a couple of chapters on a trio of American poachers and one Japanese dealer in endangered and federally and internationally protected butterfly species, and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife agents who caught and prosecuted them. Why should we care that nonviolent criminals went to jail for a few years for breaking federal law: because only in a wacky country like the US would we send somebody to jail for catching/selling a butterfly? (NB: in the state of Washington, as well as various European countries, it is illegal to collect butterflies without a permit. NB: it is also illegal in many places to hunt and fish without a licence!)

Tongue-in-cheek characterization of these sundry butterfly enthusiasts these may seem titillating, given the generally perceived eccentricity of anyone who cares about insects, but let's imagine the book were about some other pointless folly like, for example, baseball. Would it be acceptable to mangle names and statistics of players, to trivialize the fascination of the fans? I don't think so.

More than half of the Latin names of butterfly species discussed in the book are spelled incorrectly. Laufer evidently dismisses people who worry about such minutia as obsessive compulsive wonks, but again, would it be acceptable to write about the ballpark exploits of Joe da Majyo or Loo Garig? This carelessness is particularly offensive in instances where the English name of the species is based on the Latin name - such as Alexandra's birdwing, Troides (Ornithoptera) alexandrae or Lange's metalmark, Apodemia mormo langei. Laufer manages to mangle both of these, as well as numerous others.

Another recurrent error is the idea that the process of metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is some sort of miraculous scientific mystery. True, we do not understand the precise developmental cascade of genetic switches that allows a second round of development from imaginal discs in the pupa - a feature shared among all holometabolous insects (including beetles, flies and wasps), but if Laufer were even remotely curious about this, he might have consulted someone who studies it, such as Sean Carrol (U. Wisconsin) or Fred Nijhout (Duke U.). It is certainly not the case that all the larval cells beak down into liquid!

Throughout the book are bits of annoying butterfly trivia that Laufer has stumbled upon, perhaps via Google searches. He manages, for example, to cite the lepidopteran in the Lunesta advertisements as a butterfly! Maybe a luna moth? You know - like to help you sleep at NIGHT? Here's one he missed: the song "In-a-gadda-da-vida" by Iron Butterfly has the longest drum solo of any top-40 hit. Do these factoids have anything at all to do with butterflies? To me, they are just feeble gonzo free-associations of an author who has nothing to say and is trying to pad an inadequate and largely incoherent "story line."

Most of the less glowing reviews of this book were written by people put off by Laufer's political stance with regard to the Bush administration and its various wars. While those jibes are indeed tangential to the focus of the book, the thing I found most offensive was the repeated imputation that sticking a butterfly with a pin is cruel (an idea addressed and refuted nearly 200 years ago by Kirby and Spence (1828)), and that major butterfly collections are historical accumulations representing the efforts of obsessed Victorian naturalists, and now stored as static objets d'arte in antique wooden boxes. The fact is that most of what we know about the variability, geographical distributions and phenology of the world's flora and fauna is based on museum collections. Collecting remains a vital and fundamental activity in the continuing enhancement of our understanding of biodiversity. For example, in order to determine that a species is in need of conservation, you first need some idea of its historical distribution and population size. You need to know its habits, what it eats, etc., in order to be able to develop a plan to save it. Much of those data come from museum collections.

Of course, there is a spectrum of motivations for the collector's impulse. Some people want to possess rare or valuable things, others do it because they want to contribute to the community of science. This latter group, which I suspect is in the majority, is sorely neglected in Laufer's book. A proper book about butterfly collectors would address both sides of the story, not simply promulgate the ignorant and pejorative Fowlesian view of "the Collector."

A few years ago, May Berenbaum (U. Illinois) and colleagues (McKenna et al. 2001) published a small but devastating paper showing that the number of butterflies killed due to traffic on the highways of Illinois over a few summer weeks vastly outstrips the entire specimen holdings of the world's great public butterfly collections. Thus, if one really desires to save the lives of innocent butterflies, one should work to reduce the U. S. automotive speed limit to 25 mph, rather than wringing one's hands about the cruel and deviant nature of the few thousands of people who enjoy to wander the woods and fields with a butterfly net.

The Lepidopterists' Society, an international organization of butterfly and moth enthusiasts, has a thoughtful and balanced position statement on the ethics of collecting which interested readers may find at [...] This site also contains a wealth of other information about butterflies.

In sum, you would learn more about Lepidoptera by reading "the Hungry Caterpillar" than you will from this loser.

References
Bates, H.W. (1863) The naturalist on the River Amazons, Penguin Books edition (1988), New York
Kirby, W. and Spence, W. (1828) An introduction to entomology. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green, London.
McKenna, D.M., McKenna, K.M., Malcolm, S.B. and Berenbaum, M.R. (2001) Mortality of Lepidoptera along roadways in central Illinois. J. Lepid. Soc. 55: 63-68.
28 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Peter Laufer's Adventure Yields Another Enjoyable and Inspiring Read 2. Mai 2009
Von BrightonBeach - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Fans of Peter Laufer's life of journalistic adventure as expressed in his shelf full of remarkable books (Mission Rejected, Exodus To Berlin, Made in Mexico, Iron Curtain Rising, etc.) have yet another exciting read to enjoy. But this time, the intrepid Laufer, who has won almost every major award for journalistic excellence and often has had to risk life and limb to get the story, does a complete change of pace. He takes you by the hand and leads you from jungles to back alleys, as we enter the sometimes bizarre, sometimes berserk world of Butterflies and the people who love them. A theme that runs through Laufer's previous works--the quest for decency in the midst of corruption--emerges here as well. Laufer finds a hard-as-nails cop whose life work is the protection of nature's most fragile species. Through interview and observation, Laufer vividly brings that cop to life along with a host of other true life characters who together, make this book a wonderful weekend of escape and reading pleasure. I bought 3 as gifts for close friends.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An elegant exploration 2. Mai 2009
Von Christopher Slattery - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I teach writing in a community college, and I spend an huge proportion of my time exhorting students to find a subject they truly love, a subject specific enough to explore deeply and thoroughly, and then to bring that subject to life with all the fascination and passion they feel for it. I might more easily make my argument by simply giving them Peter Laufer's Dangerous World of Butterflies. It is an elegant and engrossing read.
17 von 20 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Sonoma County, California, newspaper review 18. April 2009
Von Peter Laufer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This intriguing review of the book was in Laufer's hometown newspaper, the North Bay Bohemian.

Pins and Needles

Peter Laufer's dangerous world of butterflies

By P. Joseph Potocki

It wouldn't be Holy Week in Chihuahua without the tacos--Tarahumara butterfly pupae tacos--slathered in special seasonal sauce, to be exact. And in Australia, sweet, fire-roasted bugongs, their wings and legs removed, have long been an aboriginal gastric delight.

In his latest book, The Dangerous World of Butterflies: The Startling Subculture of Criminals, Collectors, and Conservationists (Lyons Press; $24.95) author, broadcaster and journalist Peter Laufer turns from weighty subjects like war, politics and foreign policy to the ephemeral but sometimes deadly world of butterflies.

And it all began as a joke. Based in Bodega Bay, Laufer was speaking at a promotional event in Bellingham, Wash., for the launch of his previous book Hope Is a Tattered Flag. An attendee inquired after the nature of his next effort. Having addressed a wide range of serious topics in 16 previous books, Laufer off-handedly remarked that perhaps he'd next amuse himself with "butterflies and flowers."

The Bellingham event happened to be broadcast on C-SPAN. A woman watching the program took Laufer for his word and invited him to her remote butterfly reserva in Nicaragua. Thus Laufer's musing morphed into what turns out to be colorfully flightful and sometimes dangerous business.

Laufer begins by regaling us with stories of drunken butterflies, flight dynamics, communication systems, pompous experts, breeders and fluttering loads of exoterica. He lavishes such facts as:

* There is no official name for a mass of butterflies;
* Experts still debate the butterfly's role in nature;
* No new species has been discovered in America for the past 50 years;
* The website IHateButterflies.com is for lepidopterophobs--people who "fear, are disgusted by, and generally dislike butterflies";
* Monarchs make haste from Canada to winter in Mexico, but expend four or five generations before finally making it back.
Judging from this, one might get the notion that here we have a modestly pleasant toss. But reading into the heart of the book, things turn serious.

Laufer profiles Hisayoshi Kojima, the man who calls himself "the world's most wanted butterfly smuggler." Laufer's Kojima story is a mini detective thriller. It begins with Fish and Wildlife Service agent Ed Newcomer, who picked up a cold case investigation of the smuggler begun by his agency in 1999. Newcomer went undercover, tenaciously tracking Kojima's sales of rare and threatened butterfly species. Newcomer stuck with the case until Kojima was finally sent to federal prison, seven years later. Laufer's telling includes plot twists, false starts, ego strokes, exhilaration and even unrequited lust.

But as it turns out, Kojima's tale was just a tease for the serious cloak and dagger stuff that follows. He was a smuggler, yes, but Kojima was just a middle-man.

The violent butterfly baddies are the poachers. Laufer quotes naturalist and biologist Vladimir Dinets, who tells him, "Professional poachers are tough people, excellent mountaineers, and they try to make friends with local warlords and drug smugglers." Dinets, who has tracked the trade on expeditions into Central Asia, points to the sophisticated espionage technologies and techniques employed by the poachers, describing them as "James Bond-style."

Laufer also tells of forest guards in Darjeeling protecting what are characterized as national living treasures, confronting poachers armed with AK-47s, while the guards themselves carry mere sticks; and of the sensational Bengali court case of a Czech beetle research aide convicted of poaching rare butterflies who subsequently fled from justice.

But at least one butterfly expert, University of Florida's Thomas Emmel, feels all the legal fuss is much ado about nothing. According to Emmel, "No butterfly has been exterminated by overcollecting, ever."

It's difficult to pin down the practical, never mind the intrinsic value of butterflies. While one expert says, "Butterflies are hope," another counters, "They're really just pretty-colored cockroaches." No matter personal opinion, though, Laufer's The Dangerous World of Butterflies packs real entertainment wallop in a book filled with informed tidbits custom-designed for cocktail hour. In fact, did you know that Ron Boender, the proprietor of Florida's Butterfly World, is a big Bill O'Reilly fan? "I think he does a good job of presenting the other side of the story." Indeed. And so does Laufer.
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Butterflies Are Not Necessarily Free 28. Mai 2009
Von Candace Leverenz - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I just finished reading Peter Laufer's book, The Dangerous World of Butterflies, and found that not only are butterflies adored, but they are also bought, sold, smuggled, and exploited. I thoroughly enjoyed this journey from it's serendipitous beginning, through the various manifestations of destruction and protection, to the butterfly as symbol. I was fascinated by the personalities of the individuals obsessed with butterflies whether artist, scientist, dealer, smuggler or savior. Already a fan of the butterfly, I now have even more reason to love and respect this magical insect.
Since reading The Dangerous World of Butterflies, I too see butterflies everywhere. This year I will leave all of the milkweed growing in my garden.
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