"Whether you spell it as Okefinokee like Wright (1931) or Okefenokee like The New Georgia Guide (1996), the big swamp nestled in the southeastern corner of Georgia and northern edge of Florida with its distinctive flora, fauna, and natural history is the largest swamp in North America."—from the Foreword
The Okefenokee Swamp, named a National Wildlife Refuge by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937, is the country's largest intact wetland. Its continued protection is essential to native amphibian populations. Albert Hazen Wright's survey of the life histories of the frogs found in the Okefenokee at the beginning of the twentieth century is a classic of natural history, long out of print.
Wright's "Acknowledgments to Residents" provide a fascinating portrait of the human context of his research. Wright goes on to outline the status of explorations of the region and offers an extensive general discussion of the Okefenokee and its frogs, including habitats, range, coloration, measurements, vocalization, mating, structural differences, ovulation, life periods, tadpoles, growth rates, food, and predators. The book's species accounts give clear and extensive details about the species found in Georgia, still applicable today to frogs throughout the East Coast of the United States.
A new foreword by J. Whitfield Gibbons highlights appreciation for Wright's work in the context of amphibian studies today and puts into perspective the value of the Okefenokee Swamp as a nature preserve and as a refuge for native amphibian fauna now in serious decline. It updates common and scientific names and notes the current status of all taxa. Gibbons provides a history of the Cornell Expeditions and mentions the importance and later influence of some of the students who took part.
"I was pleased to hear that Cornell University Press intended to reprint Wright's Life-Histories of the Frogs of the Okefinokee Swamp. I am fortunate to have an original copy of the book and it is truly one of the most useful references on my shelf. As such, it is appropriate that this still-valuable reference be made readily available to researchers and students alike. The Okefenokee Swamp is one of the most significant wetlands in the world and Wright's book is unparalleled in terms of its detailed information on the life-histories of frogs of the region.... The re-issue of this valuable book might well stimulate research interest in the amphibians if the swamp."
Lora L. Smith, Herpetological Review 34(2), 2003.
"Intended as a research reference for biologists, ecologists, and students, as well as for those involved in amphibian molecular genetics and statistical modeling of amphibian communities... this study is as relevant today as it was in 1932."
J. Elliott, Southeastern Naturalist, 1:4, 2002
"Cornell University Press has made this herpetological classic available to a wider audience in a facsimile edition that looks nearly identical to the original, with excellent reproduction of both text and photographs. Nobody writes books like this anymore, and it is a shame.... As the afterword by Whit Gibbons makes clear, Wright's observations are as valuable today as they were 70 years ago. Only three nomenclatural changes have been made since Wright's day, and one of these, Pseudacris occidentalis, is one that Wright himself later recognized was a nonexistent species.... Gibbons discusses current concerns about declining amphibian populations and the importance of the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge as a haven for species that may be declining elsewhere in the Southeast."
Copeia 2004, no. 2
"Wright's classic study was first published in 1932; this out-of-print, difficult-to-obtain book remains a model and primer for field research on amphibians.... Wright was a field naturalist with observational and descriptive talents rarely seen today. His comments remain viable. Highly recommended for all libraries."
Choice, February 2003, Vol. 40, No. 6
"Simply put, Frogs of the Okefinokee Swamp, is arguably the most complete of a quintet of contemporary 'must-have' classic books on North American anurans... anyone interested in North American amphibians should take advantage of the new availability of this classic."
Michael Redmer, Bulletin Chicago Herpetological Society 38:5, 2003