David Quammen’s book Song of the Dodo, more than anything else I’ve read, changed how I see the world. Quammen is a former Rhodes Scholar and literature student who specialized in Faulkner but ended up as a science writer. He wrote for Outside for many years, then undertook a longer work on island biogeography and extinction, weaving together something that imitates the form of a novel while presenting the history of evolutionary thought from Darwin and Wallace down through Robert MacArthur and E. O. Wilson. It’s a beautiful book, one whose insights are only going to become more relevant as time goes on.
Quammen is a hero of mine because he looks unflinching on the world as it is, but doesn’t give up his humanity in order to do so.