Cover image for Dreaming in Turtle : a Journey Through the Passion, Profit, and Peril of Our Most Coveted Prehistoric Creatures / Peter Laufer ; foreword by Richard Branson.
Dreaming in Turtle : a Journey Through the Passion, Profit, and Peril of Our Most Coveted Prehistoric Creatures / Peter Laufer ; foreword by Richard Branson.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018.
Physical Description:
xi, 290 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"November 2018"--Title page verso.
Prologue: Operating instructions for the journalist -- The majestic turtle -- The timeless allure -- The voracious consumers -- The tawdry marketplaces -- The prodigious farms -- The illicit hunts -- The wiley smugglers -- The frustrated cops -- The pitiful casualties -- The conflicted public and the dedicated conservationists -- The imminent future -- Epilogue: A call to action.
"Traces the ongoing challenges to endangered turtle populations, evaluating the global trade practices, limited supply, and increasing demand in high-population world regions that have compromised conservation efforts." -- (Source of summary not specified)


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
597.92 LAU Book Adult General Collection

On Order



A fascinating exploration into the world of turtles across the globe; Laufer charts the lore, love, and peril to a beloved species.

Dreaming in Turtle is a compelling story of a stalwart animal prized from prehistory through to today--an animal threatened by human greed, pragmatism, and rationalization. It stars turtles and shady and heroic human characters both, in settings ranging from luxury redoubts to degraded habitats, during a time when the confluence of easy global trade, limited supply, and inexhaustible demand has accelerated the stress on species. The growth of the middle class in high-population regions like China, where the turtle is particularly valued, feeds this perfect storm into which the turtle finds itself lashed. This is a tale not just of endangered turtles but also one of overall human failings, frailties, and vulnerabilities--all punctuated by optimistic hope for change fueled by dedicated turtle champions.

Author Notes

Journalist Peter Laufer is the James Wallace Chair Professor in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He is the author of Dreaming in Turtle: A Journey Through the Passion, Profit, and Peril of Our Most Coveted Prehistoric Creatures and Organic: A Journalist's Quest to Discover the Truth Behind Food Labeling .

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this enlightening book, journalism professor Laufer (Forbidden Creatures) takes readers on a journey toward understanding the human impact on turtles, an order of reptiles that have existed since the time of the dinosaurs. His objective is more than pedagogic, as Laufer hopes that his work will serve as a "call to action" to stop the trafficking that has put many species on the brink of extinction. Less loftily, Laufer shares his experiences as the owner of a pet desert box turtle named Fred; those sections offer much-needed humor (as when Laufer's wife attempts to tempt Fred with organic raspberries from Whole Foods) as a counterweight to shocking accounts of cruelty, including the practice of carving steaks from living turtles to maximize freshness. Laufer also places the issue in a broader context, concluding with this powerful observation: "if we humans force the demise of these animals connected to ages that predate us, our disdain for their environment translates by definition to a lack of adequate concern for the sanctity of our own." Laufer's passion for his subject translates into an unexpectedly thought-provoking cri de coeur. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Laufer (journalism, Univ. of Oregon; The Dangerous World of Butterflies) pens an -engrossing, well-researched celebration and study of turtles and tortoises. Traveling around the world, he observes their role in religious ceremonies, their easy availability in crowded, inhumane animal markets, researches how they and their eggs are prepared and consumed, and learns how turtle products are used for adornment and medicine. Animal traffickers buy and sell turtles for the often illegal exotic pet trade, in which rare species go for thousands of dollars, with many animals dying during shipment to collectors. He also speaks with the law enforcement officers who catch the traffickers and follows the disposition of trafficking cases. Laufer later describes conservation efforts and problems with releasing nonnative species into the environment. Interspersed throughout are tales of his own foster desert box turtle Fred. VERDICT Laufer claims everyone has a turtle story, and he shares a wide range of accounts in this love letter to the species that will appeal to those fascinated by turtles and who care about the conservation of endangered animals.-Sue O'Brien, Downers Grove, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Richard Branson
Forewordp. IX
Prologue: Operating Instructions For The Journalistp. 1
1 The Majestic Turtlep. 9
2 The Timeless Allurep. 24
3 The Voracious Consumersp. 56
4 The Tawdry Marketplacesp. 71
5 The Prodigious Farmsp. 99
6 The Illicit Huntsp. 148
7 The Wily Smugglersp. 165
8 The Frustrated Copsp. 193
9 The Pitiful Casualtiesp. 218
10 The Conflicted Public and The Dedicated Conservationistsp. 235
11 The Imminent Futurep. 247
Epilogue: A Call To Actionp. 259
Acknowledgmentsp. 265
Notesp. 269
Select Bibliographyp. 277
Indexp. 279