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Eager: the Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter

By Ben Goldfarb

In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”―including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens―recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. Eager is a powerful story about one of the world’s most influential species, how North America was colonized, how our landscapes have changed over the centuries, and how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, extinction, and the ravages of climate change. Ultimately, it’s about how we can learn to coexist, harmoniously and even beneficially, with our fellow travelers on this planet. 5x8 inches, 304 pgs.

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WINNER of the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
Author of the New York Times 2023 "Notable Book" Crossings
Washington Post “50 Notable Works of Nonfiction”
Science News “Favorite Science Books of 2018”
Booklist “Top Ten Science/Technology Book of 2018”

"A marvelously humor-laced page-turner about the science of semi-aquatic rodents…. A masterpiece of a treatise on the natural world.”―The Washington Post

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