The Galápagos archipelago is often viewed as a last foothold of pristine nature, and for 60 years, conservationists have worked to restore it after centuries of exploitation at the hands of pirates, whalers, and settlers. In this finalist for the 2020 E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, Elizabeth Hennessy tells the story of the islands' namesakes—the giant tortoises—as coveted food sources, objects of natural history, and famous icons of conservation and tourism. As Hennessy points out, the tortoises are microcosms whose stories show how deeply human and nonhuman life are entangled. Evolution is shaped by global history, and so Hennessy puts forward a vision for conservation based on reckoning with the past, rather than trying to erase it.