The Songs of Trees by David George Haskell
Stories from Nature's Great Connectors

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Haskell’s message is straightforward and important: we are a part of nature, and the trees with whom we share our environment are vital parts of our lives.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“Here is a book to nourish the spirit. The Songs of Trees is a powerful argument against the ways in which humankind has severed the very biological networks that give us our place in the world. Listen as David Haskell takes his stethoscope to the heart of nature - and discover the poetry and music contained within.”  
-- Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees

The author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Forest Unseen visits with nature’s most magnificent networkers — trees 

David Haskell’s award-winning The Forest Unseen won acclaim for eloquent writing and deep engagement with the natural world. Now, Haskell brings his powers of observation to the biological networks that surround all species, including humans.

Haskell repeatedly visits a dozen trees around the world to stop, listen, and look, exploring each tree’s connections with webs of fungi, bacterial communities, cooperative and destructive animals, and other plants, and demonstrating how the lives of trees and people are deeply interwoven.  Several trees, including a balsam fir in Ontario and an Amazonian ceibo, are located in areas that seem mostly natural, but which are affected by industrial development and climate change. Haskell also turns to trees in places where humans seem to have subdued “nature” – a pear tree on a Manhattan sidewalk, an olive tree in Jerusalem – demonstrating that wildness permeates every location.

We have much to learn from trees, says Haskell; they show us how to thrive and participate in nature’s networks.  Roots communicate with neighboring fungi and bacteria, sending chemical messages through the soil.  Twigs have memories of light, gravity, heat and minerals.  Plant cells in leaves use airborne odors to attract caterpillar-eating insects.  Haskell pays particular attention to the sounds that emerge from or surround trees; behind each sound are fascinating stories of how tree lives are joined to other lives.

With its deep understanding of the complexity of trees and the way they shape their ecosystems, Haskell’s book will make you look at trees in an entirely new way.
 

About David George Haskell

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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 April 4, 2017 by Viking. 302 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Songs of Trees
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Kirkus

Good
on Jan 24 2017

Haskell’s message is straightforward and important: we are a part of nature, and the trees with whom we share our environment are vital parts of our lives.

Read Full Review of The Songs of Trees: Stories f... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Michiela Thuman on Mar 31 2017

This is a wise and eloquent reminder of the interconnectedness of all things and a lesson in how being open to the wisdom of trees, the great connectors, can help us understand ourselves and our place in the world.

Read Full Review of The Songs of Trees: Stories f... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

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