The Sunday New York Times Book Review. "Tragedy in Black and White." December 12, 2010.
The New Yorker
The Ice Retreat, by Fen Montaigne (PDF)
Fen Montaigne's audio slide show: The Last Penguin
A podcast with Fen Montaigne: Penguins in Peril
Nature. "After the Ice." December 23, 2010
The Philadelphia Inquirer. "Harsh Truth in a Harsh World." December 12, 2010.
The Seattle Times. "Fraser's Penguins: Fen Montaigne's Account of the Adélie Penguin and its Rapidly Warming Home." November 25, 2010.
The Portland Oregonian. "Fraser's Penguins by Fen Montaigne." November 27, 2010.
Los Angeles Times. "Heaven on Earth Melting Away." November 27, 2010.
Scientific American. "Heat Exhaustion: Has the Adélie Penguin Met Its Match?" November 19, 2010.
Huffington Post. "The Plight of Penguins in a Warming World." November 19, 2010.
Reuters. "Frasers Penguins Documents Stark Climate Change in Antarctica." November 10, 2010.
USA Today Greenhouse Blog. "Global Warming Harms Antarctica's Penguins." November 12, 2020.
RADIO AND TELEVISION
Watch Fen on the The Colbert Report, January 10, 2011:
Listen to Fen and Bill Fraser on NPR's "Science Friday" with Ira Flatow. December 31, 2010
Listen to Fen on the "Leonard Lopate Show." WNYC, New York City. December 7, 2010
Listen to Fen on "Your Call" with Sandip Roy. KALW, San Francisco. December 1, 2010
Listen to Fen on the "Faith Middleton Show." WNPR, Connecticut. December 7, 2010.
Listen to Fen on WAMU's "Animal House." Washington, DC. November 13, 2010
Montaigne (Reeling in Russia), a journalist and travel writer, spent five months tracking penguins through the breeding season on the northwestern Antarctica Peninsula with the scientist Bill Fraser, and his book is a bittersweet account of the stark beauty of the continent and the climate change that threatens its delicate ecosystem. Fraser first came to Antarctica in 1974, and his research on the peninsula, one of the fastest-warming places on the planet, with an 11°F winter heat rise in the past 60 years, has made him a pivotal figure in the study of how global warming disrupts not just individual species but creates an ecological cascade. As diminishing sea ice reduces the krill and silverfish that feed the Adélie penguins, who have thrived in this region for thousands of years, they are now dwindling alarmingly; consequently, brown skua birds, predators of the Adélies, are also having trouble breeding, and gentoo penguins, who thrive in warmer conditions, are becoming the dominant species. Montaigne poetically portrays the daunting Antarctic landscape and gives readers an intimate perspective on its rugged, audacious, and charming penguin and human inhabitants.
In 2005-’06, Yale Environment 360 senior editor Montaigne (Reeling In Russia: 1998) spent five months at Palmer Station, the only U.S. research station north of the Antarctic Circle. As a member of an environmental-science research team under ecologist Bill Fraser, the author tracked the breeding seasons of the “simultaneously gregarious and irascible” knee-high Adélie penguin, along with varieties of native seabirds . . The author was consistently in awe of the breathtaking panorama surrounding him, and this remote, larger-than-life locale triggered an “exhilarating feeling of insignificance.” He writes that though there are 2.5 million pairs of Adélies in Antarctica, those on and around rocky Torgersen Island are dying, and the “ecological upheaval” of global warming continues. The ramifications extend to the penguins' food web as well, diminishing the once-abundant populace of Southern Ocean krill, a penguin staple. Fun and fascinating penguin traits leaven the bad news: their much-studied “love-triangle brawls,” unique mating rituals (often while entombed in snow squalls), egg-laying facts and a peculiar penchant toward “pebble larceny,” when neighboring birds steal warming stones from adjacent nests. Less heartwarming is the decimation of newborn penguin chicks by predators. The unifying narrative thread is Fraser’s justified concerns about the “incredible changes” happening to Earth’s natural ecosystems and how we, as vulnerable humans, “need these systems to survive.” Sobering, fact-based cautionary treatise on the quiet storm of climate change.
From Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea, Last Stand, Mayflower, and Sea of Glory:
“By focusing on the plight of the Adelie penguin, Fen Montaigne has found a way to transform the concept of global warming into a moving and irrefutable truth. Fraser’s Penguins is a brilliant, beautiful, and terrifying account of what’s happening at the bottom of our world.”
From Elizabeth Kolbert, New Yorker writer and author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe:
“Richly observed and keenly affecting, Fraser’s Penguins is a portrait of a world in the process of disappearing. Fen Montaigne has written and important and evocative book.”