The Hive by Bee Wilson
The Story of the Honeybee and Us

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Ever since men first hunted for honeycomb in rocks and daubed pictures of it on cave walls, the honeybee has been seen as one of the wonders of nature: social, industrious, beautiful, terrifying. No other creature has inspired in humans an identification so passionate, persistent, or fantastical.
The Hive recounts the astonishing tale of all the weird and wonderful things that humans believed about bees and their "society" over the ages. It ranges from the honey delta of ancient Egypt to the Tupelo forests of modern Florida, taking in a cast of characters including Alexander the Great and Napoleon, Sherlock Holmes and Muhammed Ali.
The history of humans and honeybees is also a history of ideas, taking us through the evolution of science, religion, and politics, and a social history that explores the bee's impact on food and human ritual.
In this beautifully illustrated book, Bee Wilson shows how humans will always view the hive as a miniature universe with order and purpose, and look to it to make sense of their own.

About Bee Wilson

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Bee Wilson was a food critic of England’s New Statesman for five years, and now writes a weekly column for The Sunday Telegraph. She was named Food Journalist of the Year in 2004 by the Guild of Food Writers for her column, two years after being named BBC Radio 4 Food Writer of the Year. She recently completed a research fellowship in the History of Ideas at St. John’s College, Cambridge. She is married with two children, and this is her first book.
Published September 13, 2004 by John Murray Publishers Ltd. 320 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, History. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In addition to her intelligent survey of political iconography, Wilson presents much excellent history both social (the special significance of the hive for Freemasons, who prided themselves as builders) and religious (the Christian view that the flame of a beeswax candle represented Christ, the ...

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The Guardian

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The Hive by Bee Wilson John Murray, £7.99 Never particularly strong on biology, it was not until relatively late in life - around the time this book came out in hardback, when I read some of the reviews - that I discovered the precise mechanics of bee reproduction.

Sep 17 2005 | Read Full Review of The Hive: The Story of the Ho...

The Guardian

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The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us by Bee Wilson 308pp, John Murray, £14.99 At the opening of this book, Bee Wilson paints a picture of the era before our remote ancestors discovered how to steal wild honey.

Sep 18 2004 | Read Full Review of The Hive: The Story of the Ho...

Publishers Weekly

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Food writer and Sunday Telegraph columnist Bee Wilson, who says she acquired her name long before her fascination with the insect Apis mellifera, takes an entertaining look at the extraordinary notions humans have had through the ages about honeybees.

Mar 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Hive: The Story of the Ho...

London Review of Books

The 13th-century bestiary of Bartholomew spoke of a ‘king bee’ being waited on and defended by serf bees, esquire bees and knight bees, and going forth from the hive only in the company of a swarm of vassal bees.

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