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The songs of trees : stories from nature's great connectors
2018
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WINNER OF THE 2018 JOHN BURROUGHS MEDAL FOR OUTSTANDING NATURAL HISTORY WRITING

“Both a love song to trees, an exploration of their biology, and a wonderfully philosophical analysis of their role they play in human history and in modern culture.” Science Friday
 
The author of Sounds Wild and Broken and the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Forest Unseen visits with nature’s most magnificent networkers — trees 


David Haskell has won acclaim for eloquent writing and deep engagement with the natural world. Now, he brings his powers of observation to the biological networks that surround all species, including humans. Haskell repeatedly visits a dozen trees, exploring  connections with people, microbes, fungi, and other plants and animals. He takes us to  trees in cities (from Manhattan to Jerusalem), forests (Amazonian, North American, and boreal) and areas on the front lines of environmental change (eroding coastlines, burned mountainsides, and war zones.)  In each place he shows how human history, ecology, and well-being are intimately intertwined with the lives of trees.
 
Scientific, lyrical, and contemplative, Haskell reveals the biological connections that underpin all life.  In a world beset by barriers, he reminds us that life’s substance and beauty emerge from relationship and interdependence. - (Penguin Putnam)

Author Biography

David Haskell’s work integrates scientific, literary, and contemplative studies of the natural world. He is a professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of the South and a Guggenheim Fellow. His 2017 book The Songs of Trees won the John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Natural History Writing. His 2012 book The Forest Unseen was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, and won the 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies, the National Outdoor Book Award, and the Reed Environmental Writing Award. His new book, Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction, will be published in March of 2022.
 
To listen to a collection of sounds from the trees in this book, visit dghaskell.com. - (Penguin Putnam)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Haskell (The Forest Unseen, 2012) traveled repeatedly to various destinations for this examination about the complex, natural relationships centered around trees. This finely tuned, highly literary investigation of specific arboreal ecosystems starts with a nod to the Homeric Greeks and ends with a reflection on the atom. Along the way, Haskell considers such plants as the balsam fir in Ontario, the Sabal palm in Georgia, the olive tree in Jerusalem, and the ceibo in Ecuador. Although many of the 10 total trees discussed are in the U.S., the author maintains a worldly air in his analysis, taking readers on a heady review of ornithology, meteorology, and archaeology as related to his subjects. His thoughtful prose lulls readers into extraordinarily in-depth studies of the molecular breakdown of dying trees, the sounds created by their great branches, and their manners of germination. Haskell is elegant in his observations, taking the same care with his words as he does with his research. Blending history and science with the grace of a poet, this is nature writing at its finest. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Part 1 Ceibo
3(104)
Balsam Fir
31(28)
Sabal Palm
59(24)
Green Ash
83(24)
Interlude: Mitsumata
98(9)
Part 2 Hazel
107(56)
Redwood and Ponderosa Pine
124(39)
Interlude: Maple
155(8)
Part 3 Cottonwood
163(90)
Callery Pear
188(27)
Olive
215(26)
Japanese White Pine
241(12)
Acknowledgments 253(6)
Bibliography 259(22)
Index 281

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