No writer has done more to evoke a Midwestern sense of place than Scott Russell Sanders, or, for that matter, to bear witness to the wonders and ethical challenges posed by the natural world. Readers discovering Sanders for the first time are bound to be moved and even inspired by A Conservationist Manifesto
, this latest collection of his gracefully composed essays. But those who know and admire Sanders' work may find a writer here in need of a fresh perspective. Sanders' moralism about the Earth and how we treat it (and ourselves) is trenchant, but his conscience-stricken approach wants humor, his worrying could stand a dash of fury. In short, a little less sacred, a little more profane might be in order. That said, when it comes to capturing the living, breathing experience of being alive in nature -- walking among Indiana oaks or leaning into the trunk of a tulip tree -- Sanders remains uncanny. His sentences can bring you to your senses.