The Disappearing Edens

William Burt

View Inside Format: Cloth
Price: $35.00
Our shopping cart only supports Mozilla Firefox. Please ensure you're using that browser before attempting to purchase.

An intimate photographic portrait of the marsh as few have ever seen it—exquisitely subtle, mysterious, and teeming with rare birds and flora

Drawn since boyhood to the beauty and allure of marshes, naturalist William Burt has prowled them by day and night, in every season, from one edge of North America to the other. For thirty years he has hauled his large-format camera with him, seeking to capture on film the elusive birds, the wildflowers and grasses, and the unique wild beauty of the marshes. In this breathtakingly lovely book, he selects ninety of his most striking photographs. He also offers his reflections on the marshes he has visited, inviting his readers to come with him and become acquainted with this hidden world, its richness, and its vulnerability. Burt explores marshes near and far, from Connecticut to Manitoba, the Gulf of Mexico, California’s Central Valley, the Northern Plains, and elsewhere. His photographs explore all aspects and seasons of marsh life but focus especially on such shy inhabitants as rails, bitterns, grebes, and gallinules. While the photographs tell stories of their own, Burt’s narrative invokes the marshes of the past and compares them to today’s, with prose as picture-sharp as the photography. No book has ever evoked the mystery and beauty of the marshes so compellingly as this by William Burt. And no reader, having accompanied the author to this secret world, will fail to appreciate the rare privilege of having been there.

William Burt is a naturalist, photographer, and writer with a passion for wild places and elusive birds. He is the author of two previous books, and his photographs and stories have appeared in Smithsonian, Audubon, National Wildlife, and other magazines. He lives in Old Lyme, CT.


Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, PA (March 10-June 2007)  

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD (June–December 2007)

Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX (February 15-May 11, 2008)

Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania (December 13, 2008-March 15, 2009)

Roger Tory Peterson Institute (Jamestown, NY). November 9, 2007 - February 10, 2008  

Flint Riverquarium (Albany, Georgia). March 1 -July 31, 2008

"Burt's photographs and passion bring forth the majesty of marshes and their inhabitants, causing the reader to long to visit."—Laura Meyerson, University of Rhode Island

“Burt’s magnificent photos stand as a statement of why marshes are true Edens.”—Noble S. Proctor, ornithologist



“Burt is passionate about his subject and conveys that through his sensational photos. His book will instill in any reader a love and appreciation for marshes.”—Meg Lowman, author of Life in the Treetops and It’s A Jungle Up There

"Burt melds the eye of an artist, the soul and language of a poet, the dedication of a religious acolyte, and the wizardry of seldom-seen nature photography to create a stunning evocation of the edenic marshlands of North America. In his passionate pilgrimage to the far-flung shrines of nature wherein dwell an exuberance of often hidden birdlife, Burt is in turn bitter at what has been squandered, sweet on what still exists, and always reverent. This is simply a marvelous production."—Bernd Heinrich, writer, biologist, artist, professor of biology at the University of Vermont





“Naturalist Burt uses his considerable literary and photographic skills to describe the mysterious beauty of rapidly disappearing wetlands. . . . Capturing on film elusive spoonbills, bitterns, and herons sheltered by elegantly shaped plants with delightful names like sea pink, sweet flag, swamp rose mallow, silverweed and blue flag, Burt delights in and educates readers about the fragility and importance of wetlands.”—Booklist

"Photographer and bird lover Burt has had a love affair with marshes since childhood, and this book portrays, in words and photographs, his romantically tinged tour of North American marshlands and his take on how they've changed since the early explorer-naturalists first found them."—Publishers Weekly

"William Burt has an enviable gift: the power, with prose and camera lens, to persuade a reader of Marshes that these 'disappearing Edens' are among the most remarkable places on earth. Believe him."—House & Garden

"It is clear from the very beginning of Marshes that William Burt loves his subject. . . . Burt's prose is as picture-sharp as his photography. Marshes compellingly evokes the mystery and beauty of his subject."—Kate Tufts, The Maryland Yellowthroat

"In this sumptuous book, beautifully written, we follow Bill Burt on his pilgrimage to discover hidden treasures within marshes across the breadth of North America. . . . Burt's exquisite photos of the Crane Lake marsh near sunset, and of the Pied-billed, Western and Eared Grebes, each with young, rank with the best anywhere. . . Buy it, read it, admire it, savor it. It would be a perfect gift for any naturalist, any wildlife photographer, anyone who loves our remaining marshes."—C. Stuart Houston, Blue Jay

"Burt is entertaining and sobering at the same time. . . . Books like this help put places like marshes back in the center of things. Burt is a sensualist who lays out the elusive mystery and beauty of marshlands for us."—Tim Traver, Orion

"For more than 30 years naturalist and photographer William Burt has prowled North America's wetlands, finding beauty in unexpected places. In Marshes, 90 stunning color photographs attest to his decades of discovery. . . . Burt's evocative and informative writing complements the book's gallery of beautiful marshes. Though he grieves for wetlands lost to development and invasive species, Burt's words and images also celebrate what remains."—Audubon

"A stunning look at and reflection about the state of our nation's marshes—both an indictment of what man and nature have wrought on a piece of the environment he notes is being destroyed at the rate of 60 acres every hour, and an homage to the rich flora and fauna of that hidden world."—Donna Doherty, New Haven Register

"The book itself is stunningly handsome, a unity of parts in its content, design, printing and binding. . . . Richly illustrated and exquisitely produced. . . . Marshes is worth its days on the coffee table and decades on your shelf for its evocation of nature and the wetlands primeval, for its images in moody bogscapes and miraculous glimpses of the living birds in their secret places. Like Everest and seashores, grasslands and dawns, marshes elicit our curiosity, affection and awe just because they are there. So does this lovely book."—Philip Kopper, Washington Times

"A book that feels and looks like a coffee-table book with its fine binding and quality printing, but is more than that due to Burt's clear and honest writing style combined with his skill with the camera. Wetlands have never had such an articulate advocate."—Science Books & Films
ISBN: 9780300122299
Publication Date: May 16, 2007
192 pages, 8 1/2 x 10
92 color illus.