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About Diane Ackerman
In her most recent book, "The Human Age: the World Shaped by Us," she confronts the unprecedented fact that the human race is now the single dominant force of change on the whole planet. Humans have "subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness." Ackerman takes us on an exciting journey to understand this bewildering new reality, introducing us to many of the inspiring people and ideas now creating, and perhaps saving, our future
A note from the author: "I find that writing each book becomes a mystery trip, one filled with mental (and sometimes physical) adventures. The world revealing itself, human nature revealing itself, is seductive and startling, and that's always been fascinating enough to send words down my spine. Please join me on my travels. I'd enjoy the company."
Contact me or follow my posts here: www.dianeackerman.com, @dianesackerman, www.facebook.com/dianeackerman.author
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The New York Times bestseller now a major motion picture starring Jessica Chastain.
A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.
After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story—sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award.
“Delightful . . . gives the reader the richest possible feeling of the worlds the senses take in.” —The New York Times
"Deep play" is that more intensified form of play that puts us in a rapturous mood and awakens the most creative, sentient, and joyful aspects of our inner selves. As Ackerman ranges over a panoply of artistic, spiritual, and athletic activities, from spiritual rapture through extreme sports, we gain a greater sense of what it means to be "in the moment" and totally, transcendentally human. Keenly perceived and written with poetic exuberance, Deep Play enlightens us by revealing the manifold ways we can enhance our lives.
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award
"A testament to the power of creativity in language, life—and love." —Heller McAlpin, Washington Post
It is a truism that lovers have their own language. And the love story—extending over more than forty years—of acclaimed writers Diane Ackerman and Paul West is equally a story of the love of language and its mysteries. In this heart-warming, uplifting memoir, Ackerman explores the brain’s ability to find and connect words—and of the latest science behind what happens when it fails to do so. Exposing both the terror of losing language and the giddy exhilaration of its recovery, Ackerman opens a window into the experience of wordlessness and testifies to the joyous necessity of wordplay for the health of both mind and spirit.
Long treasured by literary readers for her uncommon ability to bridge the gap between art and science, celebrated scholar-artist Diane Ackerman returns with the book she was born to write. Her dazzling new work, An Alchemy of Mind, offers an unprecedented exploration and celebration of the mental fantasia in which we spend our days—and does for the human mind what the bestselling A Natural History of the Senses did for the physical senses.
Bringing a valuable female perspective to the topic, Diane Ackerman discusses the science of the brain as only she can: with gorgeous, immediate language and imagery that paint an unusually lucid and vibrant picture for the reader. And in addition to explaining memory, thought, emotion, dreams, and language acquisition, she reports on the latest discoveries in neuroscience and addresses controversial subjects like the effects of trauma and male versus female brains. In prose that is not simply accessible but also beautiful and electric, Ackerman distills the hard, objective truths of science in order to yield vivid, heavily anecdotal explanations about a range of existential questions regarding consciousness, human thought, memory, and the nature of identity.
Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award and the PEN New England Henry David Thoreau Prize.
A dazzling, inspiring tour through the ways that humans are working with nature to try to save the planet.
With her celebrated blend of scientific insight, clarity, and curiosity, Diane Ackerman explores our human capacity both for destruction and for invention as we shape the future of the planet Earth. Ackerman takes us to the mind-expanding frontiers of science, exploring the fact that the "natural" and the "human" now inescapably depend on one another, drawing from "fields as diverse as evolutionary robotics…nanotechnology, 3-D printing and biomimicry" (New York Times Book Review), with probing intelligence, a clear eye, and an ever-hopeful heart.
A celebrated storyteller-poet-naturalist explores a year of dawns in her most personal book to date.
In an eye-opening sequence of personal meditations through the cycle of seasons, Diane Ackerman awakens us to the world at dawn—drawing on sources as diverse as meteorology, world religion, etymology, art history, poetry, organic farming, and beekeeping. As a patient and learned observer of animal and human physiology and behavior, she introduces us to varieties of bird music and other signs of avian intelligence, while she herself “migrates” from winter in Florida to spring, summer, and fall in upstate New York.
Humans might luxuriate in the idea of being “in” nature, Ackerman points out, but we often forget that we are nature—for “no facet of nature is as unlikely as we, the tiny bipeds with the giant dreams.” Joining science’s devotion to detail with religion’s appreciation of the sublime, Dawn Light is an impassioned celebration of the miracles of evolution—especially human consciousness of our numbered days on a turning earth.
Ackermans's Olympian vision records and transforms landscapes from Amazonia to Antarctica, while her imaginative empathy penetrates the otherness of hummingbirds, deer, and trilobites. But even as they draw readers into the wild heart of nature, Ackerman's poems are indelible reminders of what it is to be a human being—the "jaguar of sweet laughter" that, according to Mayan mythology, astonished the world because it was the first animal to speak.
As always, her strong connection with the natural world, the realms of language and literature, myth and imagination, combines with her deep understanding of the sciences to offer her readers a singular American voice. This is not a voice crying in the wilderness, but one that gives forth songs of joy and wonder.
Organized into seven sections, including "Timed Talk," "By Atoms Moved," and "Tender Mercies," I Praise My Destroyer is less an assorted collection than an organically coherent whole, one that reveals Ackerman's true calling as a twentieth-century metaphysical poet of the highest order.