Foreword by John Alcock
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From which side of the bed you sleep on to where to play a backyard game of hide-and-go-seek, Maximilian Werner examines elements of everyday behavior through the eye-opening lens of evolutionary theory in this memoir-infused nonfiction. Werner applies an intriguingly fresh take to seldom-explored habits of humans and animals alike, guiding readers backward in time to the Pleistocene.
“Werner’s prose is compelling, his natural history is thoroughly engaging, and his line of curious inquiry is an admirable attempt to better understand humanity and its changing relationship with the external world.”
“Throughout most of the essays, Werner questions why he responds to particular situations in particular ways, from choosing which bedroom to give his son to feeling less protective of a friend than of his wife during hikes, and tries to connect those subconscious decisions to evolutionary reasons.”
—ForeWord Reviews, Summer 2013
“Werner makes evolutionary theory accessible through case studies of both human and nonhuman subjects, teaching us how immersed all living creatures still are in the things that made the difference between life and death hundreds of generations ago.”
—Salt Lake City Weekly
“This book provides an entry in to the great epic of evolution in a way that makes it both accessible and inspiring. This is no small accomplishment and we are all indebted to Maximilian Werner.”
—Mary Evelyn Tucker, co- author, Journey of the Universe
“Join this sensitive and perceptive naturalist as he explores his yard and nearby caves and mountains, carefully observing the activities of myriad life forms, and then reflecting insightfully on the evolutionary story we share with them. Learn from him how to feel completely at home in the world.”
—Loyal Rue, author of Religion is Not about God: How Spiritual Traditions Nurture Our Biological Nature
“Werner’s book, thought-provoking and emotionally satisfying, takes us on a journey, a journey that ultimately urges each one of us to get up, go outside and hunt around the edges of our homes for the mysteries that await.”
–Sylvia Torti, author of The Scorpion’s Tail
Returning with his second title at Torrey House Press, Maximilian Werner is the author of the 2011 novel Crooked Creek, a Utah Book Award finalist. Mr. Werner’s poems, fiction, creative nonfiction, and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including Matter Journal: Edward Abbey Edition, Bright Lights Film Journal, The North American Review, ISLE, Weber Studies, Fly Rod and Reel, and Columbia. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two children and teaches writing at the University of Utah.
John Alcock is a behavioral ecologist and writer. His research interests include the evolution of diversity in insect populations and studying the adaptive value of different ways in which males find mating partners. He is the author of several books, including The Kookaburras’ Song: Exploring Animal Behavior in Australia (1988), Sonoran Desert Summer (1990), The Triumph of Sociobiology (2003), and Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach (ninth edition, 2009).