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The Cabaret of Plants : Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and the Human Imagination
by Richard Mabey


Overview -

The 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, sweeping, and wonderfully readable work of botanical history, The Cabaret of Plants explores dozens of plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty, and belief.  Read more...


 
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More About The Cabaret of Plants by Richard Mabey
 
 
 
Overview

The 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, sweeping, and wonderfully readable work of botanical history, The Cabaret of Plants explores dozens of plant species that for millennia have challenged our imaginations, awoken our wonder, and upturned our ideas about history, science, beauty, and belief. Going back to the beginnings of human history, Mabey shows how flowers, trees, and plants have been central to human experience not just as sources of food and medicine but as objects of worship, actors in creation myths, and symbols of war and peace, 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. He ranges through the work of writers, artists, and scientists such as da Vinci, Keats, Darwin, and van Gogh and across nearly 40,000 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, Priestley's sprig of mint and photosynthesis, and Wordsworth's daffodils; the history of cultivated plants such as maize, ginseng, 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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780393239973
  • ISBN-10: 0393239977
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish Date: January 2016
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Nature > Plants - General
Books > Science > Life Sciences - Botany
Books > Science > History

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-11-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

In his inimitable style, English naturalist Mabey (The Ash and the Beech) blends genres to produce a work that demonstrates his passion for the lives of plants. By incorporating natural history, travel writing, and mainstream botany into a text rich with philosophy, poetry, and visual art, Mabey brings a sense of excitement and vitality to his material (the books illustrations are paired well with the text and greatly enhance it). One of his goals is to move readers beyond the simplistic idea that plants are passive and uninteresting members of ecosystems. As he explains it, he has written a story about plants as authors of their own lives and an argument that ignoring their vitality impoverishes our imaginations and our well-being. He succeeds admirably in this task, whether he is discussing the 20,000 varieties of apples that have been bred from a single original stock, the critical role that olive trees played in the development of Impressionist art, or the complex ways in which plants communicate with one another. Mabey is delightfully eclectic in his approach, often touching on those species with which he has a personal connection, but he consistently advances his central theme while providing interesting insights and opinions. Illus. Agency: InkWell Management. (Jan.)

 
BAM Customer Reviews