A Wild Promise: An Illustrated Celebration of The Endangered Species Act (Hardcover)

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A Wild Promise: An Illustrated Celebration of The Endangered Species Act By Allen Crawford, Terry Tempest Williams (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Allen Crawford, Terry Tempest Williams (Introduction by)
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Staff Reviews

 The Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 28, 1973. Nixon wrote that the act provided the Federal government with the needed authority to "protect an irreplaceable part of our natural heritage--threatened wildlife.  And, nothing is more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed."                                                                                                                

     It has been 50 years since the Endangered Species Act's inception and there has been a gradual erosion of the act.  Just a few examples are: In 1970 the tiny perch known as the Snail Darter took on the Tennessee Valley Authority's construction of the Tellico Dam., and in the 1990's the Pacific Northwest's wholesale clearcuts versus the Spotted Owl.  The rights of the federal government versus the rights of private land owners sometimes conflict, for example the Bundy standoff at the Matheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2014.   But, the Act of 1973 still endures.

     A Wild Promise is a celebration of the Endangered  Species Act.       Crawford has written and beautifully illustrated an account of 82 species threatened.  The book is divided into six areas, mountain, ocean, desert, grassland, wetland and woodland. It opens with the mountain section and the Grizzly Bear.  The animals' general location, and existing population are given.  If possible, a count of the species population is given and if it is threatened, endangered or now is delisted because of its growing number.  Each animal or insect is brightly painted with some of its facts written in calligraphy.

     There are some species so threatened that this reader wants to cry at their loss.  But, there are also some successful stories such as the bald eagle and the American alligator.

     The author's purpose in presenting this book is to make the reader aware of the possible fate of so many lesser known endangered animals, many that exist in an isolated area and are on the brink of extinction.  Crawford hopes that we become aware of these endangered species near us.  There are over 1,400 species on the Endangered Species list.

       A Wild Promise is a book that fits many interests.  It is a great book for a classroom, or school and home libraries.  Art lovers will enjoy the artist- author's beautiful pictures.  Just a few examples of the entries is the Northern Sea Otter who is looking out with an inquisitive expression as he is holding a crab which he has just caught.  The California Condor appears fierce and quite dignified.  The Brown Pelican, who was delisted in 2009 is watching out from the post he stands on..  The Hammerhead Shark is quite odd-looking.  He is listed as endangered as of 2014.  In the Desert section the Mojave Desert Tortoise is listed as threatened with a rate of decline at 90% since 1980.  The Florida Panther and the Red Wolf are in the Wetlands section and they are both beautiful portraits, each is endangered.  The Ivory-billed Woodpecker is another beautiful picture.  It was listed as extinct, but recent evidence suggests possible survival.

      My favorite animals in the book are  Crawford's turtles and I enjoyed all of their pictures.  And these turtles are also sadly endangered.

      Crawford writes that he hopes that his book will bring attention to the imperiled species that he has illustrated and presented to the reader.  It is a book that would make a great gift for just about anyone.

— Sue Domis



In the powerful introduction Terry Tempest Williams reminds us, "Our wild promise within the Endangered Species Act to protect and keep safe threatened and critically endangered species from extinction can become vows of action."

For the past fifty years, this promise, the Endangered Species Act, has ensured that the most threatened and vulnerable species and their habitats are protected. From the Steller sea lion to the ivory-billed woodpecker, from the steelhead trout to the red wolf, this landmark act has worked to preserve the wild beauty that surrounds and sustains us.

In A Wild Promise, acclaimed artist Allen Crawford beautifully illustrates over eighty animals that embody the spirit, legacy, and commitment of the Endangered Species Act. In his trademark inventive style, Crawford’s full-color illustrations and illuminated text create a vibrant tapestry of our nation’s habitats—oceans, mountains, deserts, wetlands, prairies, and forests—and the varied species that call these places home. With a powerful and moving introduction by award-winning writer and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams, A Wild Promise is critically urgent and inspirational, lending voice and spirit to all endangered species. A visually delightful, one-of-a-kind work, A Wild Promise is a celebration of conservation, commitment, and compassion—a clarion call to continue to embrace, engage, and act in ways that preserve and protect our living world.

About the Author

Allen Crawford is the illustrator of Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself. He and his wife, Susan, are proprietors of the design/illustration studio Plankton Art Co. Their illustrations are on permanent display at the American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, Orion, and Art in America. He lives in Mt. Holly, New Jersey.

Terry Tempest Williams is an American writer, educator, and conservationist. Her award-winning books include Refuge, When Women Were Birds, The Hour of Land, and Erosion: Essays of Undoing. She lives in Castle Valley, Utah.

Praise For…

Beautiful. . . . An ode to all the animals that have seen their numbers grow after gaining federal protection.
— Los Angeles Times

As A Wild Promise reveals—through artist Allen Crawford’s beautiful renderings of over 80 animals, with text by the great Terry Tempest Williams—we have it in us to save the world, we just have to do it.

— LitHub, A Best Nonfiction Book of Summer

Beautifully illustrated. . . . The artistry is amazing. . . . 
— Graphic Medicine

— The Trentonian

The greatest enemy of life on Earth is not fossil fuel, but human hubris. In our eleventh hour, the art of Allen Crawford and the words of Terry Tempest Williams offer witness and warning. A Wild Promise celebrates the lives that have been saved by the Endangered Species Act, even as that half-century act itself is endangered. This gentle, strong book marks this moment of peril and promise. We can ignore, and thereby accept, the dark tsunami of extinction moving through sea and air and across the land faster than any previous wave. Or we can find the power of our humility and our wider kinship. We can reconnect our children and ourselves to the rest of nature. We can reverse the deepening loneliness of our species. We can turn the tide.

— Richard Louv, author of Our Wild Calling and Last Child in the Woods

Product Details
ISBN: 9781953534897
ISBN-10: 1953534899
Publisher: Tin House Books
Publication Date: August 8th, 2023
Pages: 208
Language: English