THE FOREST UNSEEN by David George Haskell
Best of 2012
Kirkus Star

THE FOREST UNSEEN

A Year's Watch in Nature

KIRKUS REVIEW

An extraordinary, intimate view of life in an old-growth forest.

“Can the whole forest be seen through a small contemplative window of leaves, rocks, and water?” This is the question Haskell (Biology/Univ. of the South) set out to answer by examining one square meter of old-growth Tennessee woods. Highly informative and entertaining, these short essays are dense with sensory details and deserve to be read slowly and carefully. The sights, smells and sounds of the forest permeate the pages, bringing readers face to face with a panoply of simple natural wonders: leaves, wildflowers, mosses, ferns, snails, salamanders, deer and more. Throughout an entire calendar year, Haskell scrutinizes this “mandala” of space, connecting the microcosm of birds, plants and animals in this patch of woods to the macrocosm of the outer world. This in-depth look into the natural biosphere emphasizes the idea that nothing—not even the small microbes that exist in the leaf litter—lives unrelated or unconnected to any other thing. What happens in this old forest is affected by and will in turn affect other parts of the planet. Even as Haskell discovered an "ecological and evolutionary kinship with the forest," he also realized "an equally powerful sense of otherness...a realization of the enormity of [his] ignorance…[where] simple enumeration and naming of the mandala’s inhabitants lie far beyond [his] reach." Equally as informative as and far more enjoyable than any biology textbook, the book provides valuable insight and perspective on a world that is often missed in the bustle of modern society.

Exceptional observations of the biological world worthy of any naturalist’s library.

Pub Date: March 19th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-670-02337-0
Page count: 260pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2012




BOOKS FOR EARTH DAY 2012:

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Nonfiction BEFORE THEY'RE GONE by Michael Lanza
by Michael Lanza
Nonfiction THE FOREST UNSEEN by David George Haskell
by David George Haskell
Nonfiction THE HOCKEY STICK AND THE CLIMATE WARS by Michael E. Mann
by Michael E. Mann

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