Book Review – THE CALIFORNIA FIELD ATLAS
Obi Kaufmann’s California Field Atlas is a creation of the heart. It is an atlas, field guide, history, and art all rolled into one, and we are the luckier for it. Kaufmann describes his book this way:
“This book is not full of road maps, and it won’t help you if you are lost in the woods. It comes with a different set of guarantees and assurances, in that it plainly lays out the entirety of the state as a single, integrative being composed of living patterns and ancient processes.”
Part nature writing, part geography, part ecology, geology and art, Kaufmann’s atlas is a deeply comprehensive field guide to all of California.
Obi Kaufmann was born and raised in California and now lives in Oakland. He is a nature-writing outdoorsman and explorer. Kaufmann spent 10 years working on this book, 4,200 man-hours. At over 500 pages, it contains 10 chapters, including Unfolding California,” “Of Earth and Mountains, Of Fire and Forests,” “Of Wildlife and Wild Gardens,” “The 58 Counties of California,” and much more. Readers can fondly revisit places they’ve been, discovering new insights, find new places to go to, or just soak up the fascinating natural beauty of California, arm-chair traveler style.
Did I mention Kaufmann’s accompanying art? His watercolors are beautiful. Whether a map, an animal or a flower, the illustrations are ethereal yet informative, and add to what makes this book a treasure.
Chapter 10 is entitled “A Re-Wilded Future.” In this chapter, Kauffman encourages and challenges us:
“With the right information and the right spirit, and a bit of ingenuity, we can ensure that the natural California that our grandchildren and their grandchildren know is in even better condition than it is in today.”
Kaufmann outlines and describes do-able and necessary conservation efforts aimed at restoring and protecting natural processes and wilderness areas.
Amazon got it right when they said:
“The California Field Atlas is the ultimate road trip companion, and love letter to a place!”
For yourself, your family, or a friend, this book is truly a special gift!
By, EV Diana McCovy