Maslow, Jonathan 1948-2008 (Jonathan Evan Maslow)

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Maslow, Jonathan 1948-2008 (Jonathan Evan Maslow)


See index for CA sketch: Born August 4, 1948, in Long Branch, NJ; died of cancer, February 19, 2008, in Greenwich, CT. Naturalist, journalist, fiction writer, and author. Maslow was trained as a journalist and worked for small-town newspapers in New Jersey, from Cape May in the southern wetlands to Paterson in the urban north. His first book, The Owl Papers (1983), also took him from one end of the state to the other in search of the increasingly rare short-eared owl. The rigors of the search also heightened his awareness of the need for wildlife preservation. Maslow traveled far afield, journeying from one part of the world to another, seeking remarkable miracles of nature and recording his travels in journals that he later adapted for publication. Bird of Life, Bird of Death: A Naturalist's Journey through a Land of Political Turmoil (1986) is the story of his adventures in Guatemala as he searched literally high and low for the quetzal bird, so shy of humans that it almost achieves the status of myth. He also used his book to meditate on the political violence that had scarred the land he traveled and threatened the beautiful national bird. Sacred Horses: The Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy (1994) relates Maslow's time in Asian Turkmenistan, before and after its independence from the Soviet Union. This time his search was for the remaining purebred Akhal-Teke horses that had once roamed the ancient Kora Kum desert only to face near-extinction in Soviet slaughterhouses. Again, Maslow celebrated the beauty of the natural world and called for preservation initiatives that could supersede political and economic objectives. After almost twenty years as a professional journalist and nature writer, Maslow turned to a different but equally unique product of the natural world. Torrid Zone: Seven Stories from the Gulf Coast (1995) is a collection of short stories featuring the colorful men and women who have made their way over the centuries to the U.S. coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. The single thread that binds the stories together is the coastline itself and the magical pull it exerts on the lives of the people who collect there. Maslow's next collection, Footprints in the Jungle: Adventures in the Scientific Exploration of the American Tropics (1996), consists of biographical essays that introduce the lives of scientific explorers past and present who have ventured into the natural world south of the U.S. border. The connective tissue that holds these accounts together is, once again, the power of the land that can lure people of such different backgrounds into its mysterious heart.



New York Times, February 24, 2008, p. A23.