KILLING MISTER WATSON by Peter Matthiessen
Random House; 372 pages; $21.95
Events of this rangy, ambitious novel are seen through the scrim of the author's wrath. Long before terms like environment or ecology came into common use, the rich, fragile jungle of the Everglades was destroyed, its birds and beasts annihilated, its waterways choked. The men responsible might never have heard of the word habitat, but they knew what they were doing, and for some, at least, hardness was tinged with a mute regret.
The ruin of the Everglades between 1880 and 1910, especially by hunters of egret and flamingo plumes...