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Publisher Chuck Savitt of Island Press says he first learned of the manuscript two years ago while traveling in New Mexico. Listening to a National Public Radio interview on his car radio, he heard a scholar explain that he was in the process of editing Thoreau's last, unpublished book.
"I realized it might be an ideal title for a new imprint we were planning," says Savitt, a specialist in environmental books. "So I stopped the car, found a pay phone, and began tracking down the scholar, Brad Dean."
The result is Faith in a Seed: "The Dispersion of Seeds" and Other Late Natural History Writings by Henry D. Thoreau, edited by Bradley P. Dean with original b & w illustrations by Abigail Rorer (Apr., $25). The book is the first opportunity in 125 years for readers to encounter a new work by the canonical American author. For Savitt's Washington, D.C.-based Island Press, the book is the cornerstone of a new trade presence--Shearwater Books--and the realization of Island's vision of nature and science writing, which …