A Celebration of the World’s Barrier Islands

Orrin H. Pilkey with original batiks by Mary Edna Fraser

Columbia University Press

A Celebration of the World’s Barrier Islands

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Pub Date: June 2003

ISBN: 9780231119702

400 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $80.00£62.00

Pub Date: June 2003

ISBN: 9780231534055

400 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $79.99£62.00

A Celebration of the World’s Barrier Islands

Orrin H. Pilkey with original batiks by Mary Edna Fraser

Columbia University Press

From the Carolina Outer Banks to New York's Fire Island, from Iceland to the Netherlands and Colombia to Vietnam, barrier islands protect much of the world's coastlines from the ravages of the sea. Although these islands are vastly different in many ways, they also share many common features. Most dramatic among these is their dynamism—barrier islands are in almost constant motion, their advances and retreats powerful testimony to the force and beauty of nature—and their vulnerability in the face of a different kind of force, commercial and residential development.

This first-of-its-kind survey of barrier islands around the globe had its genesis in 1993, when geologist Orrin Pilkey met artist Mary Edna Fraser at Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina. They soon realized they shared a passion for the barriers, one heightened by the many threats the islands face from development and global warming. These fragile and irreplaceable jewels, Pilkey and Fraser determined, needed to be better understood, and, as important, to be seen in a new way, if they were to be saved.

Every bit as dynamic as the islands they depict, Mary Edna Fraser's spectacular original batik artwork (silk cloth colored by hand using a modern variation of an ancient dyeing technique) has been exhibited in both science and art museums. Combined with Orrin Pilkey's engaging and informative text, they create a treasure of a book that is at once beautiful and rigorously scientific. Pilkey identifies three major types of barriers—coastal plains, Arctic, and delta—each with its own geological characteristics and particular morphologies, which are themselves shaped by several factors, including the absence or presence of underlying rock formations, tidal patterns, and vegetation. Employing the latest advances in geological mapping, Pilkey also identifies traces of ancient barriers marking long-lost shorelines—a further reminder that in the geological dance of land and sea, change is the only constant.

Praise for Mary Edna Fraser and her art:

"Pilot with a palette... as much of an artist in the midst of the creative process as Picasso laboring over his easel." —Michael Kilian, Chicago Tribune

"Fraser's works depict an organization and sensuousness in the land that is visible only from the air." —Susan Lawson-Bell, National Air & Space Museum

"Exhibited and collected around the world, her batiks have a common theme: promoting the awareness of environmental beauty and change on the planet as seen from the air. " —Carolyn Russo, Women and Flight
Pilkey has written a highly engaging and intelligent book on the fragile beauty of the barrier islands. Library Journal
A marriage of expertise and aesthetics. Charleston Post
Delicate renderings of the islands by artist Mary Edna Fraser look like vivid aerial-view paintings but are actually batik prints of the coasts, counterbalancing Pilkey's careful study of the 'restless ribbons of sand.' New Yorker
It's a wonderful tour, richly illustrated with colour and black and white photos. Mary Edna Fraser's silk batiks deserve special mention. They capture the sense of the islands remarkably well, giving us a keen birdseye view of the land. New Scientist
The fragility of those coastal areas is explored in Orrin Pilkey'sA Celebration of the World's Barrier Islands which takes readers on an illustrated jaunt to many of the barrier islands worldwide. Ann Lloyd Merriman, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Pilkey provides an informative guide to the wheres and wherefores of barrier islands—from the vacation meccas off the east coast of North America, to the exotic carbonate archipelagos of Mozambique, to the ice-battered slivers of tundra that line the Arctic Ocean. Aerial and satellite photographs illustrate each geological peculiarity that the text brings into focus, but the most remarkable images in the book are the batiks created by Mary Edna Fraser. Natural History
[Pilkey] uses lively, engaging language to explain the origin, the long-term evolution, and the day-to-day processes that determine the distribution and morphological splendor of barrier islands... Original illustrations are magnificent and complement the elegance of the book. Choice
This book serves as a fine introduction to the world's diverse barrier islands, yet provides an enormous wealth of information. Southeastern Naturalist
The global scope of this book is impressive.... this attractive book will succeed in stimulating other scientists to write about geomorphological features for the general public. Andrew Goudie, Times Higher Education Supplement
This is an attractive and thoughtful book...Highly recommended to all whose interests include coastal environments. Harold D. Palmer, Oceanography
A book that not only is intellectually stimulating but aesthetically pleasing...Pilkey's book is eye opening and should be required reading. Mary Ellen Riddle, Coast
Pilkey's and Fraser's collaboration produces an emotional response to the beauty of our planet, one which proves that science and art can together deepen understanding. Linda Kaun, Fiberarts Magazine
If there is one book poised to have a positive impact on the future of the world's disappearing barrier islands, this is it. Laura J. Moore, Palaois
This is an interesting and yet unusual book... It is a welcome addition. Derek J. McGlashan, Geomorphology
List of Illustrations
Preface
Prologue
1. Dennis Roars Ashore: A Beneficial Catastrophe
2. The Global Picture
3. The American Barrier Island Scene: Hot Dogs and Drumsticks
4. Barrier Islands and Human Realities: Awash in Politics
5. Delta Barrier Islands: That Sinking Feeling
6. Colombia's Pacific Islands: A Subsiding Tropical Paradise
7. The Carbonate Islands: Tropical Permafrost
8. Lagoon Barriers: The Quiet Ones
9. The Icelandic Islands: Of Fire and Ice
10. The Arctic Islands: The Cold and Dark Ones
11. False Islands: Things Aren't What They Seem to Be
12. Requiem for Some Friends
Glossary of Terms
References Cited
Appendix
Table 1. Global Barrier Islands
Table 2. Delta Barrier Islands
Table 3. Arctic Barrier Islands
Table 4. Endangered Species
Index

About the Author

Orrin H. Pilkey is James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Duke University. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Francis Shepard Award for Excellence in Marine Geology, and the author or editor of many books, including The Beaches Are Moving: The Drowning of America's Shoreline, Living by the Rules of the Sea, and The Corps and the Shore.Mary Edna Fraser is a renowned artist specializing in the production of large-scale batiks, many based on aerial photographs. Her work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Duke University Museum of Art, the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.