The Inner Life of Cats
The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions

We love our cats, but how well do we understand them?  They are famously mysterious.  Science has begun to illuminate their mysteries, but many of its findings are unknown to most cat owners.  In The Inner Life of Cats, Thomas McNamee and his beloved cat Augusta open up a hidden world.

Augusta’s adventures lead the reader through astonishing discoveries about cats’ psychology, communication, and needs.  McNamee’s narrative takes us to feral cat colonies in Rome, through ferocious controversies, and directly into the work of the behaviorists and biologists exploring feline consciousness.

"The Inner Life of Cats is filled with shining prose, moments of sheer cat joy--and intimate, careful scientific observation. Thomas McNamee's naturalist's eye, combined with his humor and heart, bring the always wild, yet domesticated cat into delightful, insightful focus."―Cat Warren, New York Times bestselling author of What the Dog Knows
The Killing of Wolf Number Ten

 

If you are ever fortunate enough to hear the howling of Yellowstone wolves, once you have read this book, you will always think of Wolves Nine and Ten. If you ever see a Yellowstone wolf, chances are it will be carrying their DNA.

The restoration of the wolf to Yellowstone came perilously close to going wrong, but it didn’t. It is now recognized as one of conservation’s greatest achievements, and Wolves Nine and Ten will always be known as its emblematic heroes.

 

"Thomas McNamee puts us into the scientists’ spotter planes and behind their       binoculars during the wolves’ critical first spring in Yellowstone.  His day-by-day account is suspenseful and often poetic." —Los Angeles Times

The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat
Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance

 

From his first day as the New York Times food editor, Craig Claiborne took his readers where they had never been before.  America was a land of overdone roast beef and canned green beans.  There had never been such a thing as a restaurant critic.

 

He gave Julia Child her first major book review.  He introduced Indian, Vietnamese, and Brazilian food . . . the Cuisinart . . . arugula . . . the French nouvelle cuisine.  Restaurants of every ethnicity blossomed.  He was the father of the world of food as we know it now.

 

"A big juicy dish bubbling with scandals and rivalries, thickened with oft-told secrets . . . . This Clark Kent of a food editor really did exert superpowers on the cultural life of 20th-century America." —Washington Post

Alice Waters and Chez Panisse
The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution

 

The story of the woman who led (and still leads) the organic food revolution, and of the restaurant she created (still, in the opinion of many, the best in America).  

 

"McNamee proves that if you write well enough, mesclun salad, blue trout, foraged shellfish, mulberry ice cream and a hot-enough pizza oven can indeed serve as the ingredients of a delicious narrative." —Seattle Times

The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone

 

After twenty-five years of political struggle, the reintroduction of Yellowstone’s apex predator was the most significant event in the history of the world’s first national park.  The ecological effects were dramatic, and the cultural drama—which continues to this day—embodies timeless conflicts that play out over and over not only in the American West but in humanity’s eternally uneasy relationship with the truly wild.

 

"In his straightforward and often sparely poetic voice, and with his stringent sense of fairness, Thomas McNamee tackles the complex story of The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone. McNamee has been a participant in and intimate witness to the struggle. He has a point of view, but always presents both sides of the issue. . . . A deep-feeling and thoughtful book, steeped in wolf biology but informed by ecology, politics, and basic human nature." —Boston Globe

A Story of Deep Delight

 

This novel counterposes three stories, each the personal history of a young man who grows up in the same place at a different time.  A Chickasaw Indian boy is caught between external pressures on his people to modernize and his own longing for their waning traditions.  After the Chickasaws are forced from their homeland by Andrew Jackson, a plantation is carved out of the forest.  On it a young slave is engulfed in the Civil War and then must face the ambiguous freedom that follows it.  A century later, a white boy grows up in a burgeoning suburb of Memphis, Tennessee—still the same place.  He meets descendants of both the Chickasaw and the African American boys, and struggles to come to terms with the dizzying acceleration of history.

 

"McNamee has written a masterpiece first time out . . . .[His] ear for dialect and accent is unnerving . . . . The writer’s ability to create believable, intriguing characters is equally good.  . . . [Its] cultural scope gives Delight claim to be nominated for the great Tennessee novel . . . . McNamee’s surpassing ability is under-writing, letting the story carry the magical flow rather than inserting himself as the genius storyteller.  You don’t realize how good he is until you are finished and realize what has happened to you." —Nashville Banner

Nature First
Keeping Our Wild Places and Wild Creatures Wild

In this meditation on the “nature of nature,” Thomas McNamee explores the meaning of conservation and the tendency of our current American categories—national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges—to fragment vital ecosystems. If the conservationist idea of nature is wildness—wildness not just of vital organisms but of places, processes, ecosystems—then, McNamee insists, “the greatest obstacle to nature conservation in the national parks and wildernesses is the disparity between official boundaries and biological ones.

The Grizzly Bear

Following a single season in the life of a mother grizzly—from the time she and her two tiny cubs emerge from the den in spring until she and her one surviving cub re-enter hibernation in autumn—The Grizzly Bear explores the biology of the species, the angry politics of grizzly conservation, and the infighting among agencies charged with saving the Yellowstone grizzly when it was nearing extinction.  The book vividly portrays the bear’s physical powers, ecological adaptability, and extraordinary intelligence.  The grizzly bear requires vast, undisturbed habitat, and does not brook human intrusion.  With purity and ferocity, she embodies wildness.

 

"The Grizzly Bear is lyrical, lucid, evocative, sometimes funny, and always stylishly written.  There is, in this book, the smell of the bear . . . . Mr. McNamee has paid his dues in boot leather, and the fact that he has done his fieldwork within trembling distance of the great beasts, that he has lived through and evokes the seasons of a grizzly’s life, is, finally, what makes this valuable book a classic." —New York Times Book Review