Butterfly People by William R. Leach
An American Encounter with the Beauty of the World

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

...Mr. Leach succeeds in weaving his disparate social and historical strands into a thought-provoking tapestry that will appeal to natural history aficionados and students of American culture.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

With 32 pages of full-color inserts and black-and-white illustrations throughout.

From one of our most highly regarded historians, here is an original and engrossing chronicle of nineteenth-century America’s infatuation with butterflies, and the story of the naturalists who unveiled the mysteries of their existence.
 
A product of William Leach’s lifelong love of butterflies, this engaging and elegantly illustrated history shows how Americans from all walks of life passionately pursued butterflies, and how through their discoveries and observations they transformed the character of natural history. Leach focuses on the correspondence and scientific writings of half a dozen pioneering lepidopterists who traveled across the country and throughout the world, collecting and studying unknown and exotic species. In a book as full of life as the subjects themselves and foregrounding a collecting culture now on the brink of vanishing, Leach reveals how the beauty of butterflies led Americans into a deeper understanding of the natural world. He shows, too, that the country’s enthusiasm for butterflies occurred at the very moment that another form of beauty—the technological and industrial objects being displayed at world’s fairs and commercial shows—was emerging, and that Americans’ attraction to this new beauty would eventually, and at great cost, take precedence over nature in general and butterflies in particular.
 

About William R. Leach

See more books from this Author
William Leach is a professor of history at Columbia University. His previous books include Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture, which was a National Book Award finalist, and Country of Exiles: The Destruction of Place in American Life.
 
Published April 9, 2013 by Vintage. 449 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Butterfly People
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by GERARD HELFERICH on Apr 19 2013

...Mr. Leach succeeds in weaving his disparate social and historical strands into a thought-provoking tapestry that will appeal to natural history aficionados and students of American culture.

Read Full Review of Butterfly People: An American... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Kirkus

Good
on Jan 20 2013

...this is an unusual, pinpointed slice of American life enlivened with fragments of correspondence and reproductions of plates from classic books of the period.

Read Full Review of Butterfly People: An American... | See more reviews from Kirkus

The Economist

Good
on Apr 27 2013

Mr Leach is at his best when profiling men such as Edwards, Scudder and others, including solitary, taciturn Herman Strecker and resentful, bilious Augustus Grote.

Read Full Review of Butterfly People: An American... | See more reviews from The Economist

Reader Rating for Butterfly People
90%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 10 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×