My review of Edward O. Wilson's provocative new book, The Social Conquest of Earth, is in the Washington Post this weekend. Wilson, one of the nation's most celebrated scientists, asserts an evidence-based definition of the human condition and how it came to be so that's bound to attract attention.
I previously reviewed one of E.O Wilson's titles -- The Future of Life -- a decade ago for The Christian Science Monitor. I'm not sure we've made a lot of progress on confronting the issues he identified therein.
For history buffs out there, my last review for the Post was of David Hackett Fischer's new book, Fairness and Freedom.
I'm pleased to present the improved version of the detailed American Nations Today map, which will appear in the Penguin paperback edition of the book to be released in the fall of 2012. [Update, 11/4/12: the paperback is now available.]
This map makes a two minor improvements over the original. We've bumped up the state and provincial borders a notch so as to make the map easier to navigate. I've also added a label to south Florida, since everyone always asks about it. There are also three county corrections: Allegheny (PA), St. Louis (MO) and St. Charles (MO) were always supposed to be in the Midlands (as they are in the text), but got misassigned to Greater Appalachia due to my own sloppiness. (Three thousand little boxes, so little time.)
Feel free to either download the JPEG file above or a higher resolution PDF file and show it to your friends and colleagues. It's a wonderful conversation starter and comes from a book that would make an ideal gift for any occasion, except Talk Like a Pirate Day.
For those who follow my reporting on Maine, it now has a formal home. Next month, I'll be joining the staff of the state's largest paper, the Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram, where I'll be doing investigative reporting, news analysis, and coverage of what I think is the all-important beat these days: political finance. Here's the Press Herald's announcementfrom today's paper. (They've also hired Steve Mistler, intrepid State House correspondent for the Lewiston Sun Journal.)
I'll continue to work on my books and write on national issues for other publications -- foreign stuff too, although with a toddler at home there's been much less of that of late -- but look for my reporting from the Pine Tree State in the Press Herald and its sister papers, the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. More details to follow.
For background on the Press Herald and its parent company, start here. If you're looking for more on me, my books, and my reporting, try my website. If you're really looking for Bob Woodward and Google has led you astray, redirect your browser here.
Most everyone by now knows something of the collapse of New England groundfish stocks following heavy overfishing by foreign factory-freezer trawlers (in the late 1960s and early 1970s) and domestic fishermen (through the early 1990s, when many fisheries were closed or severely curtailed.) It's a sad tale that's been told many times, including in my book on Maine, The Lobster Coast.
In recent years, however, there's been ground for optimism, with many Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine stocks having recovered or been deemed well on the road to being so. Many fishermen have been hanging on, trying to survive what has been hoped to be a lean period of finite duration, a tale I touched on in this piece a few years back. Even cod, federal fisheries scientists reported, was rebuilding at an acceptable rate.
But there's been a sudden reversal of fortune in recent months in regards to cod, with scientists reporting that previous assessments were faulty, and recommending deep cuts to fishermen's quotas. Concern was first limited to the Gulf of Maine cod stock -- the one most Maine codfishermen rely on -- but in recent days has been expanded to include Georges Bank cod as well.