The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw
One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird
By Bruce Barcott
(Random House Trade Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780812973136, 336pp.)
Publication Date: January 13, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Caring for orphaned animals at her own zoo in the tropical country of Belize, Sharon Matola became one of Central America’s greatest wildlife defenders. And when powerful outside forces conspired with the local government to build a dam that would flood the nesting ground of the only scarlet macaws in Belize, Matola was drawn into the fight of her life.
In The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, award-winning author Bruce Barcott chronicles Sharon Matola’s inspiring crusade to stop a multinational corporation in its tracks. Ferocious in her passion, Matila and her confederates–a ragtag army of courageous locals and eccentric expatriates–endure slander and reprisals and take the fight to the courtroom and the boardroom, from local village streets to protests around the globe. Barcott explores the tension between environmental conservation and human development, puts a human face on the battle over globalization, and ultimately shows us how one unwavering woman risked her life to save the most beautiful bird in the world.
Bruce Barcott, author of The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier, is a contributing editor at Outside magazine. His feature articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, Sports Illustrated, Harper’s, Utne Reader, and other publications. He contributes reviews to The New York Times Book Review and the public radio show Living on Earth, and is a former Ted Scripps Fellow at the University of Colorado. He lives in Seattle with his wife and their two children.
“Thrilling . . . Barcott mashes up adventure, nature writing and biography in a steamy climate of corruption and intrigue.”
–The New York Times Book Review
“An absorbing narrative about an unheralded and faraway environmental battle that speaks volumes about the ways of our world–and how an individual might actually change it. This is a great read and an important story.”
–Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food
“This fascinating account . . . touches upon greed, corruption, and the legacy of colonialism. . . . Not even Hollywood could invent Sharon Matola [the] plucky American.”
“This real page-turner of narrative nonfiction is hard to put down.”
“Partly Hiaasen-esque, but real life.”
–New York Post
“With a plot so multilayered and dramatic that readers will need to remind themselves it’s a true account, the narrative achieves the depth of a case study and the accessible intimacy of a short feature.”
–The Miami Herald