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Publisher's Summary

A lyrical exploration of the diverse sounds of our planet, the creative processes that produced these marvels, and the perils that sonic diversity now faces.

We live on a planet alive with song, music, and speech. David Haskell explores how these wonders came to be. In rain forests shimmering with insect sound and swamps pulsing with frog calls, we learn about evolution’s creative powers. From birds in the Rocky Mountains and on the streets of Paris, we discover how animals learn their songs and adapt to new environments. Below the waves, we hear our kinship to beings as different as snapping shrimp, toadfish, and whales. In the startlingly divergent sonic vibes of the animals of different continents, we experience the legacies of plate tectonics, the deep history of animal groups and their movements around the world, and the quirks of aesthetic evolution.

Starting with the origins of animal song and traversing the whole arc of Earth history, Haskell illuminates and celebrates the emergence of the varied sounds of our world. In mammoth ivory flutes from Paleolithic caves, violins in modern concert halls, and electronic music in earbuds, we learn that human music and language belong within this story of ecology and evolution. Yet we are also destroyers, now silencing or smothering many of the sounds of the living Earth. Haskell takes us to threatened forests, noise-filled oceans, and loud city streets, and shows that sonic crises are not mere losses of sensory ornament. Sound is a generative force, and so the erasure of sonic diversity makes the world less creative, just, and beautiful. The appreciation of the beauty and brokenness of sound is therefore an important guide in today’s convulsions and crises of change and inequity.

Sounds Wild and Broken is an invitation to listen, wonder, belong, and act.

©2022 David George Haskell (P)2022 Penguin Audio

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A poet-philosopher-scientist-sage for the ages!

I truly love love David Haskell's latest song in the guise of a book. It is as melodious and poetic as the sounds of evolution at work must have been the way he describes it over millions and billions of years and reveals the creative poet-philosopher-scientist-sage that he is...

The narrator also made the work more accessible with his pleasant and easy-to-listen-to voice.

And I'm also so glad David Haskell chose to read the preface. It was magical to hear his voice after however many years since I last heard it... I hope to hear his voice again.

Having finished the Audible version, I will now probably need to read the digital version, time-willing... With Audible, you can do two things at the same time and I was listening to David Haskell's creation while cooking meals and walking the dog thus combining several of my favorite pastimes : )

One suggestion to make the listening experience even more seamless would be to include the examples of the many sounds David Haskell has collected and posted on his website at the appropriate points in the Audible version.

Full disclosure -- There are many in the Sewanee community who have been wonderful mentors to me during my four years growing up there back in the day.
And David Haskell was very important to me from the the get-go as a student advisor and to working with him as an intern writing code for computer simulations.

SP Kalita

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Stunning.

One of the most beautiful books I've read in a long time. So richly researched and stunningly executed it's destined to be a classic on writing about nature and the environment. I'm going to read this again and again. I'm so glad they found a reader up to the task of making this audible book sound vocally as wonderfully as it reads on the printed page. As a writer, and would be acoustic ecologist, I found myself cheering at both the remarkable writing and the scientific aspects captured equally well--don't miss this one.