Since the beginning of my tenure as associate editor for book reviews, I have received a great many books. This wealth of prose, poetry, and scientific exposition landing in my lap has seemed a bit like manna from heaven, given my bibliophilic predisposition. I've done my best to squelch feelings of self-conscious guilt (this is too good to be true) and, instead, have worked assiduously to catalogue at least 750 books, secure approximately 125 reviewers, and publish about 100 book reviews to date.
Within the last few years, however, I have received a number of biographies of various stripes. Most have been written about luminaries in the field of conservation. In fact, most of the books are about Americans, by Americans, published by American publishing houses. And while I knew who these people were and, in general, what their life works were about, I knew little else.
Enter Curt Meine, internationally renowned conservationist and author of an important book on the life of Aldo Leopold ( 1988. Aldo Leopold: his life and work, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. ). Last year's rumor about all these great biographies that circulated among the journal's editorial staff soon transformed into an exciting commitment for something new. Dr. Meine agreed to prepare an "occasional contribution" to the book review section that highlights the wellspring of new biographies. The choice of books and the manner of the review is solely the work of Dr. Meine. His uncanny insights into the people about whom the books are written, as well as the authors of the books, render this contribution significant beyond information about the individual biographies. It is, in fact, a profoundly thoughtful piece, worthy of reading at least half a dozen times. Therefore, it is my great pleasure to introduce the first "occasional contribution" to the journal, one that serves as a remarkable tribute to those who have gone before and as a hallmark of the society's membership.
Peggy L. Fiedler
Book Review Editor