DiSilvestro, Roger L.
DiSilvestro, Roger L.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Walker & Co., 104 5th Ave., New York, NY 10011.
CAREER: Writer and editor. Audubon magazine, former senior editor; National Wildlife magazine, former senior editor; Audubon Television, chief staff writer; BioScience magazine, features editor.
The Endangered Kingdom: The Struggle to Save America's Wildlife, Wiley (New York, NY), 1989.
Audubon Perspectives: Fight for Survival: A Companion to the Audubon Television Specials, photographs by Page Chichester, Wiley (New York, NY), 1990.
The African Elephant: Twilight in Eden, edited by Christopher N. Palmer, photographs by Page Chichester, Wiley (New York, NY), 1991.
Audubon Perspectives: Rebirth of Nature: A Companion to the Audubon Television Specials, edited by Christopher N. Palmer, photographs by Page Chichester, Wiley (New York, NY), 1992.
Reclaiming the Last Wild Places: A New Agenda for Biodiversity, Wiley (New York, NY), 1993.
(As Roger DiSilvestro) Audubon: Natural Priorities, edited by Christopher Palmer, Turner (Atlanta, GA), 1994.
In the Shadow of Wounded Knee: The Untold Story of the Indian Wars, Walker (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Roger L. DiSilvestro is an author of both fiction and nonfiction books who has also worked as an editor for several magazines. In his second novel, Living with the Reptiles, a recently paralyzed millionaire named Ritz convinces a man named Jackson Black to help him find an unidentified flying object (UFO) which has supposedly landed in South America. Ritz wants to use the UFO to go back in time and prevent the events that caused his paralysis. When they find the UFO, Ritz abandons Black and begins to alter major historical events. Black, along with the UFO's original owner, and the "time police" set off to stop Ritz. Critics responded favorably to the novel, and Sybil Steinberg, writing for Publishers Weekly, claimed that DiSilvestro "tests the limits of [the science fiction] genre while more or less respecting its conventions." Steinberg also called Living with the Reptiles, "intelligent, thoughtful and amusing."
Following the novel, DiSilvestro published The African Elephant: Twilight in Eden, a nonfiction study of the elephant in its various forms, from prehistoric mammoths to the present-day animal. DiSilvestro examines how elephants have been used as war machines, hunted for sport, and tracked during safaris, while also giving biological facts about the creatures. Reviewers appreciated DiSilvestro's effort as an at-tempt to increase appreciation for elephants. Phoebe-Lou Adams, writing in the Atlantic, found the book to be "informative," and felt that, after reading The African Elephant, elephants seem even more "complex and engaging."
DiSilvestro's Reclaiming the Last Wild Places: A New Agenda for Biodiversity addresses the problem of failing wildlife preservation efforts. DiSilvestro suggests that many species can be saved if current U.S. policies are expanded to include preservation of entire ecosystems and "ecoregions," as opposed to merely parks and wildlife preserves. Reviewers praised DiSilvestro's attention to the issue. "DiSilvestro proposes an array of intelligent cures for our present limited vision and practice of ecosystem management," wrote Bob Schildgen in Sierra. Niles Eldredge, reviewing the book in Issues in Science and Technology, held a similar opinion; he called the author "a veritable mine of information," and concluded, "Everyone in power in Washington should read this book to find out just what our land management policies have been and continue to be—and what they might become."
In 2005, DiSilvestro turned his attention to the aftermath of the 1890 battle at Wounded Knee to write In the Shadow of Wounded Knee: The Untold Story of the Indian Wars. In the book, DiSilvestro describes two major incidents which occurred after American soldiers killed over 150 Lakota tribe members at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. What made the incidents notable was the fact that, at the time, the very nature of Wounded Knee was a point of contention; it was not clearly defined as a war or a massacre. Thus, when a Lakota man named Plenty Horses killed American Lieutenant Edward Casey, the case was brought to trial and officials debated whether the killing was truly a murder or simply an act of war. Shortly after, the Culbertson brothers, who were ranchers, killed a peaceful settlement of Native Americans. The two brothers were also brought to trial for their crimes. Reviewers applauded In the Shadow of Wounded Knee. Indeed, Jay Freeman, writing in Booklist, maintained that the author writes with "an engrossing mixture of compassion and moral outrage," while a Publishers Weekly critic acknowledged that "readers … will find [DiSilvestro's] clear explanation helpful, the violent encounters dramatic and the trials absorbing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic, January, 1992, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of The African Elephant: Twilight in Eden, p. 115.
Booklist, December 1, 2005, Jay Freeman, review of In the Shadow of Wounded Knee: The Untold Story of the Indian Wars, p. 16.
Issues in Science and Technology, fall, 1993, Niles Eldredge, review of Reclaiming the Last Wild Places: A New Agenda for Biodiversity, p. 82.
Publishers Weekly, May 11, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of Living with the Reptiles, p. 251; October 10, 2005, review of In the Shadow of Wounded Knee, p. 47.
Sierra, May-June, 1995, Bob Schildgen, review of Reclaiming the Last Wild Places, p. 92.