Last Stand: Ted Turner's Quest to Save a Troubled Planet


Product Details

$26.95  $25.06
Lyons Press
Publish Date
5.88 X 1.26 X 8.71 inches | 1.29 pounds

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About the Author

Todd Wilkinson has been a professional journalist and author for more than twenty-five years, with assignments that have taken him around the world. He is author of several books, including the critically acclaimed Science under Siege: the Politicians' War on Nature and Truth.


"If Ted Turner were a superhero, as befits the extraordinary daring and scope of his singular, under-the-radar achievements, his powers would involve shape-shifting, controversy-igniting, strategic charisma, and making and giving away epic sums of money. Turner's philanthropic innovation and zeal led him to fund the work of his great mentor, Jacques Cousteau; bolster the UN; found an organization devoted to eliminating nuclear weapons; support clean water and sustainable energy initiatives; and restore and preserve vast ecosystems and diverse endangered species. Journalist Wilkinson first interviewed Turner in 1992, when the ecohumanitarian, a restless man of high curiosity, "expansive thinking," and bold action, was newly married to Jane Fonda and busy with his now-famous bison herd on his majestic Montana ranch. For all his telegenic brashness, Turner is profoundly private. But he came to trust Wilkinson, and the result is this diligently detailed, keenly interpreted, and jaw-dropping portrait of a smart, prescient, independent man hard-driven by sorrow and passionately committed to doing lasting good in the world on as large a scale as possible. Wilkinson is the first to disclose the tragic story of Turner and his father and how the solace Turner has always found in nature, coupled with his momentous realization that "he could only save himself by helping others," inspires his phenomenal, world-altering environmental efforts."--ALA Booklist, starred review "In this fascinating, subject-approved biography of entrepreneur and CNN founder Ted Turner, journalist Wilkinson (Science under Siege: the Politicians' War on Nature and Truth)--who has covered Turner's life extensively since 1992--examines the billionaire's life. While the author weaves in such topics as Turner's rocky relationship with his suicidal father and his much-ballyhooed marriage to Jane Fonda--the focus here is on Turner's surprising devotion to the environment. Ranging from his concern about endangered species such as prairie dogs to instilling an appreciation of philanthropy in his five children, Turner walks the walk of his beliefs. Engaging stories about Turner's interactions with such dignitaries as former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev show him in a rarified yet relatable light. For anyone who thinks they know the man once dubbed the "Mouth of the South," this book proves there are unplumbed depths to this septuagenarian."--Publishers Weekly"Todd Wilkinson explores the back story of Ted Turner's evolution from media mogul and devotee of Ayn Rand to the most successful and influential green capitalist in the world. The author unravels Turner's motives behind his involvement with the United Nations, his anti-nuclear stance, and his love of buffalos and prairie dogs, and he probes Turner's troubled family history through his early years as a striving businessman and media tycoon, revealing little-known facets of Turner's complex life. Wilkinson constructs his narrative around interviews with Turner, his family and the multitude of individuals who have dealt with Turner. But the heart of the story chronicles Turner's evolving environmental consciousness, spurred on by his purchase of Hope Plantation in South Carolina in 1976. In 1987, he purchased his first ranch in Montana. Today, his "portfolio of land covers fifteen ranches, five plantations in the Deep South, a coastal barrier island, a trio of estancias in Argentina's Patagonia, a scattering of residential retreats, and an office Atlanta." Turner's famed buffalo herd now stands at around 56,000 animals, making it the largest ever maintained by one person. Under the auspices of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, a wide variety of at risk-species have gained protection on Turner's private holdings, and he has lent support for wildlife research around the globe. "[His] lands function as fountainheads of life," Wilkinson writes. Turner's burgeoning social and environmental ventures are based on his belief in the "triple bottom line," a combination of "financial balance sheets, protection of the environment, and benefits to local and larger communities. A well-wrought portrait of a visionary side of Ted Turner that may be unfamiliar to many readers."--Kirkus Reviews"Ted has set a new standard for what a single individual can do to address the most challenging problems threatening our survival. He is tenacious. And he is helping to make a difference--in the nick of time." --Mikhail Gorbachev"Last Stand is a great literary portrait of the many parts of a fascinating and important man--Ted Turner. Ted is on a mission to save the world and the world should be grateful to have an energetic and imaginative friend."--Tom Brokaw"What we need most in these trying times is vision. This book is an example of the clarity of double-vision: Todd Wilkinson as a visionary writer and Ted Turner as his visionary subject. The only thing more powerful than vision is action and that is what this remarkable story of a person in place gives us. Whether it is restoring native habitat for bison or a more expansive agenda for the United Nations, Wilkinson's compelling portrait of Turner shows us, again and again, how environmental issues are economic issues are issues of social justice. We see how revolutionary actions with revolutionary patience not only have the capacity to change the world, but our consciousness."--Terry Tempest Williams, author of When Women Were Birds"Ted Turner is one of the great originals of American history, an innovator of the first rank, and, as Last Stand shows, a unique human innovation of his own making. Out of his many achievements, the most important may be the proof that capitalism and environmentalism can be joined to major humanitarian effect." --Edward O. Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University"Last Stand is a revelation. Ted Turner is a fascinating man--hold on, a wonderful man--and Todd Wilkinson has limned him as never before. It's thrilling to see this crazed and brilliant maverick, Citizen Ted, the conservationist, the bison lover, the wounded son, the beneficent pragmatist, galloping across the landscape of planet Earth. Gives aperson a bit of last weird hope." --David Quammen: author of Spillover: Animal Infiections and the Next Human Pandemic