Discovering Natural Israel

Discovering Natural Israel
Michal Strutin
336 pages ~ 6 x 9
List Price $27.95
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About the Book

Sun-spangled coral reefs and stark desert canyons. Luxuriant green hillsides and cascading rivers. Hyenas and wolves, otters and ostriches, parrotfish and turtledoves. Pistacias, acacias, date palms, orchids... Israel boasts a natural diversity that rivals most places on Earth.

In Discovering Natural Israel, award-winning nature writer Michal Strutin takes us on a journey through a land where three continents meet, where natural and human history intertwine in often surprising ways. With our spirited guide, we embark on a four-day camel expedition into the heart of the Eilat Mountains, to the ancient copper mines of Timna. We stand enchanted before the shimmering waterfalls of Ein Gedi, where King David once wrote psalms and where visitors now gather to watch ibex and hyrax leap among the cliffs. Together, we climb Israel's northern hills, quilted in spring with the pinks, purples, and blues of anemones, iris, and cyclamen. And at the base of the dazzling chalk-white cliffs of Rosh ha-Niqrah, we explore exquisite grottoes carved by the crashing waves of the azure Mediterranean.

Artfully weaving together ancient history and lore with tales of modern adventure, Michal reveals how the land and people of Israel have changed over the millennia. As we pass gnarled oaks clinging to the sides of forested slopes, giant papyri swaying over cool waters, and brittle artemisias blooming in the desert, she sheds light on the natural wonders of the land where Abraham dwelled among broad pistacia groves and where Elijah, fleeing Queen Jezebel, sought succor under a broom bush. Today, white-blossomed broom anchors canyon floors where hikers wind past pools and caves used by the ancients.

Brimming with passion, intelligence, humor, and grace, Discovering Natural Israel is Michal Strutin's testament to a land where nature and people have interacted since the dawn of civilization. It is an eloquent tribute to a beauteous land whose geography is inscribed upon her heart.

"If there ever is an indispensable guide to take on your next trip to Israel, it is this book."
--The Jewish Week

"Great reading, with a true naturalist’s sensitivity."
--Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

"A beautiful, thoughtful companion for anyone traveling to the Holy Land."
--Terry Tempest, author of Leap and Refuge

"A wonderful reminder that this remains the place whose landscape moved the hearts of the ancient poets and prophets."
--Carl Pope, Sierra Club

About the Author

Michal Strutin has been involved with nature writing from her time as an editor at Outside and National Parks magazines. Her books on natural history include two volumes of Smithsonian Guides to Natural America and the award-winning Places of Grace: the Natural Landscapes of the American Midwest, with photographer Gary Irving. Chaco: a Cultural Legacy and A Guide to Northern Plain Indians focus on cultural history. She has worked for Rolling Stone magazine and written for The New York Times, Modern Maturity, and many others. She is an avid gardener, and her love of the outdoors has taken her to backcountry areas across America, the Himalayas, and in Israel. She lives with her husband near the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.