The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell
A Year's Watch in Nature

58%

8 Critic Reviews

Each essay combines intricate natural-history exploration, philosophical meditation and—just a tad too often—a concluding moral.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Winner of 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies.
Finalist for 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.
Winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award.
Winner of the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural
History Literature.
Runner-up for 2013 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest.


In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.

Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.
 

About David George Haskell

See more books from this Author
DAVID HASKELL is a professor of biology at the University of the South and was named the Carnegie-CASE professor of the year in Tennessee in 2009. In addition to his scholarly work, he has published essays and poetry. He lives with his wife in Sewanee, Tennessee.
 
Published March 15, 2012 by Penguin Books. 284 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, History, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Forest Unseen
All: 8 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Excellent
Jan 15 2012

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.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Jan 02 2012

This informative and inspiring meditation will give curious readers a few new things to pay attention to when walking through the woods.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Hugh Raffles on Mar 16 2012

Each essay combines intricate natural-history exploration, philosophical meditation and—just a tad too often—a concluding moral.

Read Full Review of The Forest Unseen : A Year's ... | See more reviews from WSJ online

Open Letters Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue

Indeed, his book is marred by only one persistent failing on his part: his stubborn refusal to admit at any point in The Forest Unseen that the spot he’s chosen for his mandala – the old growth forests of Tennessee – could also do convincing stand-in duty for the blackest pit of Hell.

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The Seattle Times

Below average
Reviewed by David Williams on Mar 17 2012

Haskell occasionally drifts into the Thoreauvian school of nature writing, with epiphanies and too earnest discussions of nature, but for the most part he avoids platitudes.

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Chapter 16

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Taylor

If there is anything to fault in his writing, it is his frequent repetition of the word “mandala,” which appears at least once on most of the book’s pages.

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Access Atlanta

Excellent
Reviewed by Gina Webb on Mar 26 2012

“Nature, ” Haskell reminds us at the end of his marvelous course, “is not a separate place.”

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Jenny Hoople

Good
Reviewed by Jenny Hoople on Mar 28 2012

I highly recommend checking out The Forest Unseen if you’re interested in nature and science!

Read Full Review of The Forest Unseen : A Year's ...

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