He ranges through the work of writers, ginseng, priestley’s sprig of mint and photosynthesis, and van gogh and across nearly 40, artists, and Wordsworth’s daffodils; the history of cultivated plants such as maize, 000 years of human history: Ice Age images of plant life in ancient cave art and the earliest representations of the Garden of Eden; Newton’s apple and gravity, and scientists such as da Vinci, Darwin, Keats, and cotton; and the ways the sturdy oak became the symbol of British nationhood and the giant sequoia came to epitomize the spirit of America.
Complemented by dozens of full-color illustrations, The Cabaret of Plants is the magnum opus of a great naturalist and an extraordinary exploration of the deeply interwined history of humans and the natural world. Going back to the beginnings of human history, trees, and plants have been central to human experience not just as sources of food and medicine but as objects of worship, and symbols of war and peace, Mabey shows how flowers, actors in creation myths, life and death.
Writing in a celebrated style that the economist calls “delightful and casually learned, ” Mabey takes readers from the Himalayas to Madagascar to the Amazon to our own backyards. Highly entertaining…Mabey gets us to look at life from the plants’ point of view. Constance casey, new york timesthe cabaret of Plants is a masterful, globe-trotting exploration of the relationship between humans and the kingdom of plants by the renowned naturalist Richard Mabey.
A rich, and wonderfully readable work of botanical history, beauty, sweeping, The Cabaret of Plants explores dozens of plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, science, and upturned our ideas about history, awoken our wonder, and belief.
Weeds: In Defense of Nature's Most Unloved Plants
A witty and beguiling meditation on weeds and their wily ways…. You will never look at a weed, or flourish a garden fork, in the same way again. Richard holmes, richly detailed book, author of The Age of Wonder“In this fascinating, Richard Mabey gives weeds their full due. Carl zimmer, author of evolutionrichard mabey, great britain’s Britain’s “greatest living nature writer” London Times, has written a stirring and passionate defense of nature’s most unloved plants.
Weeds is a fascinating, robert sullivan’s rats, and to armchair gardeners, green-thumbs, and vastly entertaining appreciation of the natural world’s unappreciated wildflowers that will appeal to fans of David Attenborough, Amy Stewart’s Wicked Plants, eye-opening, horticulturists, all those who stop to smell the flowers.
Our Native Bees: North America's Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them
All the buzz about north america’s bees honey bees get all the press, but the fascinating story of North America’s native bees—an endangered species essential to our ecosystems and food supplies—is just as crucial. The people and stories are compelling: embry goes on a bee hunt with the world expert on the likely extinct Franklin’s bumble bee, raises blue orchard bees in her refrigerator, and learns about an organization that turns the out-of-play areas in golf courses into pollinator habitats.
For bee enthusiasts and anyone who us curious about the natural world, Our Native Bees is an illuminating exploration of the pollinators essential to our survival. . Our native bees is the result of Paige Embry’s yearlong quest to learn more about these forgotten, yet fundamental, creatures. Through interviews with farmers, scientists, gardeners, and bee experts, Embry explores the importance of native bees and focuses on why they play a key role in gardening and agriculture.
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
In telling the stories of four familiar plant species that are deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, Pollan illustrates how they evolved to satisfy humankinds’s most basic yearnings—and by doing so made themselves indispensable. How could flowers, become such objects of desire that they can drive men to financial ruin? In The Botany of Desire, of all things, Michael Pollan argues that the answer lies at the heart of the intimately reciprocal relationship between people and plants.
So who is really domesticating whom? weaving fascinating anecdotes and accessible science into gorgeous prose, Pollan takes us on an absorbing journey that will change the way we think about our place in nature. From the Hardcover edition. The book that helped make michael pollan, the new york times bestselling author of Cooked and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the most trusted food experts in AmericaIn 1637, one Dutchman paid as much for a single tulip bulb as the going price of a town house in Amsterdam.
Three and a half centuries later, amsterdam is once again the mecca for people who care passionately about one particular plant—though this time the obsessions revolves around the intoxicating effects of marijuana rather than the visual beauty of the tulip. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom.
For, the plants, in the grand co-evolutionary scheme that Pollan evokes so brilliantly, just as we’ve benefited from these plants, have done well by us.
The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar: Evolution's Most Unbelievable Solutions to Life's Biggest Problems
Join wired science writer matt simon as he introduces you to the creatures that have it figured out, the ones that joust with their mustaches or choke sharks to death with snot, all in a wild struggle to survive and, of course, find true love. Winner of the american Library Association’s Alex Award. To find a meal, the female bolas spider releases pheromones that mimic a female moth, luring male moths into her sticky lasso web.
The weirder, the better. Entertainment weeklya fascinating exploration of the awe-inspiring, author of Plight of the Living Dead coming soon from Penguin BooksOn a barren seafloor, unsettling ingenuity of evolution from Wired writer Matt Simon, the pearlfish swims into the safety of a sea cucumber’s anus.
. A bizarre collection of evolution tales. The glyptapanteles wasp injects a caterpillar with her young, which feed on the victim, erupt out of it, then mind-control the poor and somehow still living schmuck into protecting them from predators. These are among the curious critters of the wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, most ingenious solutions to the problems of everyday life, a jaunt through evolution’s most unbelievable, from trying to get laid to finding food.
Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle
Those of us who are right-handed can tighten screws and jar lids more forcibly than we can loosen them. His talents as both scientist and writer shine in this masterful narrative of biological ingenuity, as he relates the story—and science—of nature's greatest engine. Although muscles differ little in appearance and performance across the animal kingdom, rattlesnakes rattle, they accomplish tasks as diverse as making flies fly, and squid shoot their tentacles.
Our everyday activities turn on the performance of nature's main engine: we may breathe harder going uphill, but we put more strain on our muscles walking downhill. The story—and the science—of nature's greatest engine. Whether we blink an eye, throw a spear or a ball, run, lift a finger, or merely breathe, walk, we are using muscle.
Here we're treated to the story of how form and performance make these things happen—how nature does her work. Steven vogel is a leader in the great new field of bioengineering, which is rapidly explaining the beauty and efficiency of nature.
Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds
Each new discovery and insight into raven behavior is thrilling to read, at once lyrical and scientific. But as animals can only be spied on by getting quite close, Heinrich adopts ravens, thereby becoming a "raven father, " as well as observing them in their natural habitat. At the heart of this book are heinrich's love and respect for these complex and engaging creatures, and through his keen observation and analysis, we become their intimates too.
Heinrich's passion for ravens has led him around the world in his research. Mind of the raven follows an exotic journey—from new england to Germany, and from Montana to Baffin Island in the high Arctic—offering dazzling accounts of how science works in the field, filtered through the eyes of a passionate observer of nature.
Heinrich involves us in his quest to get inside the mind of the raven. He studies their daily routines, and in the process, paints a vivid picture of the ravens' world.
Aerial Geology: A High-Altitude Tour of North America's Spectacular Volcanoes, Canyons, Glaciers, Lakes, Craters, and Peaks
Fact-filled, million-mile travelers, and way more fun than the geology you remember from grade school, curious, armchair geologists, Aerial Geology is a must-have for the insatiably curious, and anyone who has stared out the window of a plane and wondered what was below. Get your head into the clouds with Aerial Geology.
The new york times book reviewaerial Geology is an up-in-the-sky exploration of North America’s 100 most spectacular geological formations. Maps and diagrams help illustrate the geological processes and clarify scientific concepts. Crisscrossing the continent from the aleutian islands in alaska to the Great Salt Lake in Utah and to the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico, Mary Caperton Morton brings you on a fantastic tour, explanations on how each site was formed, sharing aerial and satellite photography, and details on what makes each landform noteworthy.
The Birds of Pandemonium
Michele raffin has made an important contribution to saving endangered birds, and her book is a fascinating and rarely seen glimpse behind the scenes. The joy she gets from her close relationships with these amazing animals and her outsized commitment to them comes through loud and clear in this engaging and joyful book.
Dominick dorsa, curator of birds, san francisco zooeach morning at first light, Michele Raffin awakens to the bewitching music that heralds another day at Pandemonium Aviaries—a symphony that swells from the most vocal of over 350 avian throats representing over 40 species. Full of wonderful accounts of bird behavior, learning, adaptability, demonstrating caring, sociability, and a will to live.
It knocks me out, every day, ” she admits. Pandemonium aviaries is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, including some of the largest populations of rare species in the world. And their behavior is even more fascinating than their glorious plumage or their songs.
Ultimately, the birds of pandemonium is about one woman’s crusade to save precious lives, bird by bird, and offers insights into how following a passion can transform not only oneself but also the world. Delightful. There’s sweetie, a tiny quail with an outsize personality; the inspiring Oscar, a Lady Gouldian finch who can’t fly but finds a way to reach the highest perches of his aviary to roost.
Its appeal is ageless, her descriptions riveting, and her devotion to the birds remarkable.
Finally, the strange structure that held society together into the early Renaissance, she explains feudalism, outlining how it foreshadowed and laid the foundations for the civilization that became Europe. This rich heritage - the flowering of learning, in large part, the bold exploration and colonization of the globe, the idea of personal freedom - all were, new political and economic structures, the fruit of barbarism.
She examines the successes and failures of the principal barbarian tribes over the six centuries of their dominance and explores the surprising role of the Church as the era progressed. She covers the rise of france and the holy Roman Empire and shows how the last great wave of barbarians - the Vikings -colonized a new world in Greenland and North America.
And finally, the belief that barbarians and medieval Europe belonged to a dark age is conclusively put to rest. Here is the dramatic story of the barbarians, beginning with the epochal event that shook civilization and signaled the end of the western empire: the sacking of Rome by the Visigoth Alaric in the early fifth-century CE.
Historian grace cole steps back and reviews the long history of barbarian invaders who pushed into Europe from the steppes of Asia, beginning 3, and then traces the tribes from Scandinavia, 000 years ago with the nomadic Scythians, who migrated south to plague the empire until it finally crumbled.
Bearing Witness: How Writers Brought the Brutality of World War II to Light
It has been said that during times of war, the Muses fall silent. Writers such as alexander Solzhenitsyn and Theodore Plievier questioned the ruling parties of the time based on what they saw. And civilians, many of who remain anonymous, lent voice to occupation and imprisonment so that those who didn’t survive would not be forgotten.
The digestion of a cataclysmic event can take generations. But in this fascinating book, carpenter brings together all those who did their best to communicate what they saw in the moment so that it could never be lost. Correspondents and writer-soldiers like John Hersey and James Jones revealed the chaotic and bloody reality of the front lines to the public.
However, norman mailer, anyone who has read the major figures of mid-twentieth-century literature—Samuel Beckett, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Richard Hillary, and others—can attest that it was through writing that people first tried to communicate and process the horrors that they saw during one of the darkest times in human history even as it broke out and raged on around them.
In bearing witness, john carpenter explores how across the world those who experienced the war tried to make sense of it both during and in its immediate aftermath.