The Heart of the Sound (University of Utah Press, $21.95) is one of those rare books that calls to mind a true sense of place--in this case the glacier-bound shores of Alaska's Prince William Sound. As the reader follows author Marybeth Holleman from her North Carolina home to resettlement in Alaska, he or she can almost feel the cold, starlit nights and see the magnificence of the glaciers with Holleman as she kayaks the inlets of the Sound, her company the otters and seabirds living in the shadows of the ice. The attention to natural detail imbues the book so strongly that when the Exxon Valdez oil tanker alters that environment overnight, the horror and depression that Holleman describes in her community is palpable (see features, this issue). The ineffective clean up that leaves many animals more traumatized than the oil spill, and the deaths of animals for research with dubious benefits, is described with the passion of an animal and environmental advocate and the research acumen of a journalist. Holleman understands that wild places are best left alone, and shows how easily human beings cause destruction even as they try to heal a toxic scar.