Insightful and arresting, this book offers an achievable road map to a more “radiant future.”


A renowned scientist delivers a simple yet urgent call to action on behalf of Earth’s multitude of plants: Use us to save humanity.

As leading plant neurobiologist Mancuso writes, “plants are what make Earth the planet we know. Without them, our planet would very much resemble the images we have of Mars or Venus: a sterile ball of rock.” Sadly, the author demonstrates how humans have inflicted unimaginable damage on all varieties of plants during the short time we have controlled Earth. From deforestation to underestimating the fullness of plant life, humans “behave like children who wreak havoc” because of their “total incomprehension of the rules that govern the existence of a community of living beings.” In this slim but powerful book, which advances similar arguments as The Incredible Journey of Plants and The Revolutionary Genius of Plants, Mancuso responds to this threat by imagining a constitution written by plants, complete with specific articles to serve as the pillars on which plant life rests. Despite the author’s sometimes tongue-in-cheek writing style, which most readers will find refreshing and pleasant, the subject matter is dead serious. Each article of the constitution builds on the idea that plants have brilliantly evolved to thrive through symbiosis with other ecosystems, as opposed to the human tendency to lay waste to them. Mancuso concludes his elegant and cogent argument with straightforward advice accessible to anyone: “There should be just one simple rule: wherever it is possible for a plant to live, there must be one. Unlike many of the alternative proposals, this measure would require only negligible costs, would improve people’s lives in myriad ways, would not demand any revolution in our habits, and would have a great impact on the absorption of carbon dioxide. Let’s defend our forests and cover our cities with plants. The rest will not take long to follow.”

Insightful and arresting, this book offers an achievable road map to a more “radiant future.”

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-63542-099-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.


The bad news: On any given outdoor expedition, you are your own worst enemy. The good news: If you are prepared, which this book helps you achieve, you might just live through it.

As MeatEater host and experienced outdoorsman Rinella notes, there are countless dangers attendant in going into mountains, woods, or deserts; he quotes journalist Wes Siler: “People have always managed to find stupid ways to die.” Avoiding stupid mistakes is the overarching point of Rinella’s latest book, full of provocative and helpful advice. One stupid way to die is not to have the proper equipment. There’s a complication built into the question, given that when humping gear into the outdoors, weight is always an issue. The author’s answer? “Build your gear list by prioritizing safety.” That entails having some means of communication, water, food, and shelter foremost and then adding on “extra shit.” As to that, he notes gravely, “a National Park Service geologist recently estimated that as much as 215,000 pounds of feces has been tossed haphazardly into crevasses along the climbing route on Denali National Park’s Kahiltna Glacier, where climbers melt snow for drinking water.” Ingesting fecal matter is a quick route to sickness, and Rinella adds, there are plenty of outdoorspeople who have no idea of how to keep their bodily wastes from ruining the scenery or poisoning the water supply. Throughout, the author provides precise information about wilderness first aid, ranging from irrigating wounds to applying arterial pressure to keeping someone experiencing a heart attack (a common event outdoors, given that so many people overexert without previous conditioning) alive. Some takeaways: Keep your crotch dry, don’t pitch a tent under a dead tree limb, walk side-hill across mountains, and “do not enter a marsh or swamp in flip-flops, and think twice before entering in strap-on sandals such as Tevas or Chacos.”

A welcome reference, entertaining and information-packed, for any outdoors-inclined reader.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12969-2

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A straightforward, carefully detailed presentation of how ``fruit comes from flowers,'' from winter's snow-covered buds through pollination and growth to ripening and harvest. Like the text, the illustrations are admirably clear and attractive, including the larger-than-life depiction of the parts of the flower at different stages. An excellent contribution to the solidly useful ``Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science'' series. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-06-020055-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1991

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