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The Atlantic Coast

A Natural History

Regular price $20.00 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781553654469
  • Tags: Harry Thurston, Nature & Environment, Science, Wayne Barrett,
  • Dimensions: 7.5 x 10
  • Published On: 8/29/2011
  • 336 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781553659655
  • Tags: Harry Thurston, Nature & Environment, Science, Wayne Barrett,
  • Published On: 26/08/2011
  • 336 Pages

Winner of the Lane Anderson Award for Best Science Writing, the Evelyn Richardson Memorial Award for Non-Fiction, and the Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction.

An authoritative and fascinating exploration of the natural history of the east coast of North America.

The North Atlantic coast of North America — commonly known as the Atlantic Coast — extends from Newfoundland and Labrador through the Maritime Provinces and the Northeastern United States south to Cape Hatteras. This North Atlantic region belongs to the sea. The maritime influence on climate, flora, and fauna is dominant — even far inland. This is where the great northern boreal forests intermingle with the mixed coniferous-hardwood forests farther south and where the cold, iceberg-studded Labrador Current from the Arctic and the warm Gulf Stream of the tropics vie for supremacy.

Filled with stunning photographs, the book includes chapters on the geological origins of this region, the two major forest realms, and the main freshwater and marine ecosystems and also describes the flora and fauna within each of these habitats. Finally, it looks at what has been lost but also what remains of the natural heritage of the region and how that might be conserved in future.

Written by the Atlantic region's best-known nature writer, Harry Thurston, The Atlantic Coast draws upon the most up-to-date science on the ecology of the region as well as the author's lifetime experience as a biologist and naturalist. It is both a personal tribute and an accessible, comprehensive guide to an intriguing ecosystem.

Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation.


Wayne Barrett is a partner in Barrett & MacKay Photography. His photographs have been featured in advertisements, magazines, and calendars and have appeared in numerous books. He lives in Prince Edward Island.


Harry Thurston is the author of several collections of poetry and twelve nonfiction books, including Tidal Life: A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy, winner of three non-fiction prizes in the Atlantic region; The Nature of Shorebirds: Nomads of the Wetlands; and A Place Between the Tides: A Naturalist's Reflections on the Salt Marsh, which received the 2005 Sigrid Olson Nature Writing Award in the United States and was shortlisted for the 2005 BC Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. He has also written for such magazines as Audubon, Canadian Geographic, and National Geographic. Thurston lives in Nova Scotia.


" . . . often-lyrical narration and the book's luminous photographs submerge the reader in the experience of nature . . . " -Atlantic Books Today

"Harry Thurston is the best naturalist/writer in the Maritimes (and probably well beyond), and any book by him is well worth the read. This one is an especially valuable addition to anyone's library and a veritable fount of knowledge about the wildlife of the Atlantic Coast and about that world itself." -Farley Mowat

"The Atlantic Coast, a sweeping overview of thousands of kilometres of shoreline by prolific East Coast environmental writer and poet Harry Thurston." -Tyrone Burke, Canadian Geographic

"Here is a book that will make you swoon . . . Harry Thurston and Wayne Barrett are a dream team. Both are gifted, multiple-award-winning artists, but it is their intimate knowledge of and profound appreciation of and relationship with nature that makes this book exceptional. Thurston gives us the big picture of the Atlantic coast's ecosystem, his writing accessible to a wide audience . . . Bravo to David Suzuki Foundation and Greystone Books for finding Thurston and Barrett. This is a book that comes along once in a generation." -The Buzz

"A wonderful portrait of a key region of our world. With evocative writing and scientific rigor, Harry Thurston takes us from the deep time of drifting continents to the environmental challenge of today." -Ronald Wright

"Mixing observations, in-depth research, and vivid prose, Thurston explores the region's geologic, ecologic, and cultural history, from the plate tectonics that created the landscape millions of years ago to the recent legislation protecting the degraded waterways of the east coast. Barrett's gorgeous color photographs of land, sea, and sky supplement Thurston’s vivid descriptions, reminding us of our country’s great beauty." -Publisher's Weekly

"Sometimes the natural wonders of the world are right in your own backyard. And now, one of the region's best-known nature writers is putting the Atlantic Coast of North America on the map as one of the richest and most diverse coastal regions in the world with a new book, The Atlantic Coast: A Natural History." -The Guardian Newspaper (PEI)

"Thurston's writing is well-researched, clear and engaging, and the pictures, taken by photographer Wayne Barrett, are nothing less than astounding and beautiful . . . Certainly a worthy read." -Michael Johnsen, The Telegram