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Maria Taylor
Maria Taylor, author

Adult; Political & Social Sciences; (Market)

What happened to the globally-beloved kangaroo, koala and other Australian indigenous animals under the beliefs and traditions of colonialism? How did their fate during 200 years of nation building become a fugitive drama of dispossession and disrespect – and what is today’s little-known and blood-stained legacy in a world rapidly losing its biodiversity? Documentary journalist Maria Taylor, author of Global warming and climate change: what Australia knew and buried, unveils a cultural history of warfare against Australia’s other indigenous inhabitants. Her investigation exposes David and Goliath battles for the wildlife and nature of Australia – with worldwide echo’s. But here also are paths to conciliation and sharing that meld the ecological and the economic. Voices in these pages come from citizen activists, first Australians, scientists and authors, farmers and industry whistleblowers.
Taylor’s investigative history, studying Australia’s treatment of native wildlife, is an indictment of her country’s destructive and oftentimes cruel practices. Beginning with early colonial settlers, she examines the massacre of kangaroos, koalas, emus, and other Australian creatures, as the English colonists established farming practices and built an export economy. Turning to the present day, she explains kangaroo quotas, explores the government’s flawed rationale for massacring wildlife, and interviews former hunters who have changed their ways. As she pleads for habitat restoration and a return to environmental equilibrium, Taylor looks to conservationists and aboriginal groups who have had some success in preserving these dying animals.

A compendium of quotes from experts (both for and against hunting practices), excerpts from the works of early conservationists, and timelines of past government actions and activist groups, Injustice often reads like a textbook, albeit one with a passionate argument. There’s occasional overlap in information—facts and figures get repeated throughout. But although the work can feel academic, it’s also authoritative, a great resource for anyone who wants to learn about Australian wildlife from a preservationist’s perspective. And despite her scathing condemnation of the Australian government, Taylor concludes the book on a high note, presenting the success of landowners who have embraced the promise of ecotourism and proven that native wildlife and domesticated livestock can peacefully coexist.

The most compelling passages directly focus on the humans fighting for animal rights and ecological conservation. One highlight involves a surgeon who tends to injured wildlife; his descriptions of nursing animals back to health imbue the text with welcome personal depth and urgency. Taylor’s love for these animals shines through despite the book’s rigid structure. The harrowing tales of abuse are enough to shock any wildlife lover, and the testimony of those working to combat animal cruelty provide hope.

Takeaway: A scathing indictment of Australian animal mistreatment that lays out a hopeful future of wildlife preservation.

Great for fans of: Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction, Douglas W. Tallamy’s Nature’s Best Hope, Janet Foster’s Working for Wildlife.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A