From The Washington Post:
Two recent books — “The Kingdom of Rarities,” by Eric Dinerstein, and “Butterfly People,” by William Leach — explore humans’ quests for nature and their larger implications. While they capture these expeditions with different degrees of success, both writers shed light on why we fixate on species that are so different from us, and what their status in the world says about our own shortcomings.
While “The Kingdom of Rarities” explores two wonky scientific questions — why are certain species rare, and how does this phenomenon inform modern-day conservation? — the book is more of an adventure story than an academic treatise. Dinerstein, who has worked as a World Wildlife Fund scientist for nearly a quarter century, has spent his career traveling to some of the world’s most remote places, taking such good notes that he can relate those encounters in vivid detail. From the greater one-horned rhinoceros to the flamboyant Andean cock-of-the-rock, whose nearly flourescent orange plumage and elaborate song and feather-shaking make it stand out in the Amazon, he has enjoyed nearly unparalleled access to some of the globe’s rarest inhabitants.