The Narrow Edge

A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab,
and an Epic Journey

Winner of the Reed Award in Environmental Writing

Each year tiny sandpipers—red knots—undertake a near miraculous 19,000 mile journey from one end of the earth to the other and back. In this firsthand account, Deborah Cramer accompanies them on their extraordinary odyssey along the length of two continents, tracking birds from remote Tierra del Fuego to the icy Arctic. On the full moon of spring’s highest tides, she seeks out horseshoe crabs, ancient, primordial animals whose eggs are essential to migrating shorebirds, and whose blue blood, unbeknownst to most people, safeguards human health. The Narrow Edge offers unique insight into how the lives of humans, red knots and horseshoe crabs are intertwined, and is an inspiring portrait of loss and resilience, of the tenacity of birds, and the courage of the many people who bird by bird and beach by beach, keep red knots flying.

Praise

“The Narrow Edge is at once an intimate portrait of the small red knot and a much larger exploration of our wondrous, imperiled world.”
Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

“In the face of global warming, is our big brain connected to a big enough heart that we might preserve the beauty of the earth we were given? Heart is no problem for the red knot”
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth

“I have a compass, GPS, and radio,” [Cramer] writes. “The birds have—what? By the end of this journey I am more in awe than when I began.” Follow her graceful writing for the full 9,500 miles and you will share in that awe.”
Laurence Marschall, Natural History

“A superbly written and gripping account…more thrilling than the Kentucky Derby.”
Thomas E. Lovejoy, National Geographic Conservation Fellow

“A book so multidimensional, yet somehow so admirably succinct, I wish I’d written it…”
Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

“Perhaps the red knot should replace the canary in the mine as the harbinger of impending changes that are good neither for birds or people . . . essential reading for anyone interested in conservation.”
Joel Greenberg, author of A Feathered River Across the Sky

“An eloquent exploration of our relationship to nature.”
Nancy Knowlton, author of Citizens of the Sea

“A remarkable tale of science, nature, and humanity.”
Susan Solomon, author of The Coldest March

“Cramer brilliantly presents us with an ecosystem of many parts.”
Don Kennedy, President Emeritus, Stanford University

The Narrow Edge is superb, beautifully written as well as convincingly done.  Comparison with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is quite appropriate.”
William Conway, Long-time Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society