"Fascinating" "Engrossing" "Splendid"
"Resurrection Science demonstrates unequivocally that the Anthropocene has already dawned, and that we are ill-equipped to deal with its consequences. There is no doubt that we humans have now crossed a technological Rubicon, and at some time in the future extinct species will once again be breathing and interacting with other living things, in zoos if not in nature."
―The New York Review of Books
“In this gripping overview… the author examines the complex, high-tech, usually expensive, and often controversial efforts to save species in peril and even long-gone.”
–Kirkus, Starred Review
“Paradoxically,” says O’Connor, “the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become.” –WIRED
"As climate change and sprawling human cities remove or indelibly alter the earth’s last remaining wild spaces, O’Connor offers a critical toolkit to help readers understand the challenges of wildlife preservation....the rare book that leaves readers happily without any convenient answers, but filled with important questions they will ponder long after they’ve finished it."
–Christian Science Monitor
"Rich and exquisitely dense, sparked by an early fascination with a sixth wave of extinction (already mooted when she was a child in the 1990s) and blossoming into an extraordinarily inquisitive odyssey to different parts of Africa, America and beyond... But O’Connor is not only concerned with the biogeographical biographies of these species and their status in — or disappearance from — the world. She’s also interested in the ethics and philosophies, the social and cultural realities, the nifty possibilities of all of the new technologies that might be applied to those we seek to save, and how... She sets out to unravel the complex reality of this with biologists, animal trackers, metaphysicists and paleogenomicists, among others. She considers everything from hybrids and cryogenically frozen tissue samples to evolution, which “complicates and obfuscates the idea of any species as something that has an ‘authentic’ identity”. She navigates various disciplines and collaborations with the clarity and precision of a beam of light in darkness."
"Splendid...a fascinating account of species on the brink extinction, as well as a glimpse of a possible future for a few species that have already vanished... O'Connor argues that as a result of climate change and other factors, humans are altering the evolutionary trajectory of almost every species."
–Sydney Morning Herald
"One of O'Connor's key findings is that however we might aim to preserve a species as defined by these traits, a major element in what makes a given species recognizable—and viable—is its culture. Further, she not only finds that culture can be useful in classifying species, but also raises the question of whether we're in fact saving a given species when we alter or destroy its culture.... Wound through that debate is a variety of concepts— authenticity, interaction, the very meaning of time—that represent cultural values far more than they do scientific principles."
–Pacific Standard Magazine
"O’Connor’s engrossing book on the revival prospects of eight species scuffs the glittering promises of “resurrection science” without scotching them. As she tells her subjects’ stories, sobering themes emerge....Is the whole resurrectionist approach colossally anthropocentric and hubristic? Do animals exist for us who oversee them? Or are they objectively, intrinsically valuable and not to be tinkered with—in which case, conservation, not restoration, is the highest environmental priority. A book as thought-provoking as it is fascinating."
"This book is a very important contribution to conservation, but even more importantly connects conservation and the current extinction crisis to deeper and broader themes concerning the human experience and the natural world."
―Dr. George Amato, Director of the Sackler Institute for Comparitive Genomics, American Museum of Natural History
AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books: Finalist
Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award: Honorable Mention
Library Journal Best Books Of 2015
The Australian Best Books of 2015
“At the intersection of conservation, technology and hope lie some of the most fascinating -- and often unsettling -- stories of the fight to preserve the world's natural heritage. In Resurrection Science, M.R. O'Connor plumbs the ways synthetic biology might recreate an extinct pigeon, a Hail-Mary gamble in Africa to save a vanishing toad with the world's biggest sprinkler system, and the bioethics of bringing living Neanderthals back to the 21st century. Rhinos, whales, panthers and a sacred crow inhabit this world of tantalizing and sometimes frightening prospects, which O'Connor navigates with journalistic skill and graceful prose.”
–Scott Weidensaul, author of The Ghost with Trembling Wings
"In a provocative and thoughtful new book, journalist M.R. O’Connor scrutinizes the earnest efforts of the conservation movement. She asks the hard questions. For what are we saving endangered species? For their own sake? To keep in a zoo? So our children can see one or two? But is a tiger in a zoo, with little room to roam and no prey to catch, really a tiger? Should we be retrieving the DNA of the extinct passenger pigeon or the charismatic woolly mammoth to try to rebreed them, in a bold attempt at rewilding, if we cannot also protect or recreate the habitat and resources on which they once lived ? O’Connor explores the ethics, benefits, and consequences of one of the most important biological movements today. This book should be required reading for anyone interesting in conservation."
–Pat Shipman, author of How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction
“Few topics in conservation are as dizzyingly futuristic as that of bringing extinct species back to life. M.R. O’Connor’s Resurrection Science steadily unwraps the technical wizardry of saving vanishing wildlife, from tiny White Sands pupfish to the massive right whale of the North Atlantic, and then plumbs the strangest discipline of all: Promethean projects to raise passenger pigeons and perhaps even Neanderthals from the dead. A masterful explicator, O’Connor never loses sight of the moral weight and complexity of these aims, and this remarkable, important bookmakes gripping reading for anyone who cares about the end—or perhaps the beginning—of the world.”
–Caroline Fraser, author of Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution
"O’Connor skillfully leads us on a fascinating exploration of the science and ethics of the prevention and reversal of species extinctions....Along the way she offers hope for the conservation of biodiversity in a rapidly changing world."
–Dr. James McClintock, author of Lost Antarctica