The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors

Category: Book
By (author): Haskell, David George
Subject:  NATURE / Ecology
  NATURE / Essays
  NATURE / Plants / Trees
  SCIENCE / Natural History
Publisher: Viking
Published: April 2017
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 304
Size: 8.50in x 5.75in x 1.06in
Our Price:
$ 38.25
Availability:
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*The author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Forest Unseen visits with nature's most magnificent networkers - trees 

"At once lyrical and informative, filled with beauty." – Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

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, exploring the trees' connections with webs of fungi, bacterial communities, cooperative and destructive animals, and other plants. An Amazonian ceibo tree reveals the rich ecological turmoil of the tropical forest, along with threats from expanding oil fields. Thousands of miles away, the roots of a balsam fir in Canada survive in poor soil only with the help of fungal partners. These links are nearly two billion years old: the fir's roots cling to rocks containing fossils of the first networked cells.

By unearthing charcoal left by Ice Age humans and petrified redwoods in the Rocky Mountains, Haskell shows how the Earth's climate has emerged from exchanges among trees, soil communities, and the atmosphere. Now humans have transformed these networks, powering our societies with wood, tending some forests, but destroying others. Haskell also attends to trees in places where humans seem to have subdued "nature"- a pear tree on a Manhattan sidewalk, an olive tree in Jerusalem, a Japanese bonsai– demonstrating that wildness permeates every location.

Every living being is not only sustained by biological connections, but is made from these relationships. Haskell shows that this networked view of life enriches our understanding of biology, human nature, and ethics. When we listen to trees, nature's great connectors, we learn how to inhabit the relationships that give life its source, substance, and beauty.
Review Quote*Advance Praise for The Songs of Trees

"David George Haskell is a wonderful writer and an equally keen observer of the natural world. The Songs of Trees is at once lyrical and informative, filled with beauty and also a sense of loss."
– Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction
 
"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
 
"David George Haskell may be the finest literary nature writer working today. The Songs of Trees - compelling, lyrical, wise - is a case in point. Don't miss it."
-- Deborah Blum, author of The Poisoner's Handbook

"Inspiring . . . Haskell's study of interconnectedness reveals as much as humans about it does trees." Publishers Weekly

"Haskell's thoughtful prose lulls readers into extraordinarily in-depth studies of the molecular breakdown of dying trees, the sounds created by their great branches, and their manners of germination . . . Haskell is elegant in his observations . . . Blending history and science with the grace of a poet, this is nature writing at its finest."
ALA Booklist (starred)

"Engaging and eye-opening. . .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 Reviews

"David Haskell has opened up a new dimension in sound - and given us a powerful tool to rethink the way we look at the roots of our reality and how trees are the best way to guide us. A tour de force of sound and symbol. Read. Listen. Learn." 
--Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky

"With a poet's ear and a naturalist's eye Haskell re-roots us in life's grand creative struggle and encourages us to turn away from empty individuality. The Songs of Trees reminds us that we are not alone, and never have been."  
-Neil Shea, writer, National Geographic

"David Haskell does the impossible in The Song of Trees. He picks out a dozen trees around the world and inspects each one with the careful eye of a scientist. But from those observations, he produces a work of great poetry, showing how these trees are joined to the natural world around them, and to humanity as well."
-Carl Zimmer, author of A Planet of Viruses

"David Haskell writes with uncommon insight and sensitivity: listening and giving voice to the ineluctable networks in which trees and all human experiences are embedded."
-Peter Crane, President, Oak Spring Garden Foundation


Praise for The Forest Unseen

"Haskell thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist." 
-The New York Times

"Haskell's observational powers are impressive, his descriptions evocative, his knowledge wide-ranging, and his conclusions thoughtful and generous."
-The Wall Street Journal

"Haskell's book is above all else a masterpiece of contextualization. It's a book not about hawks or snails or bacteria or coyotes, though it includes them all, but about their-and our-shared ecology." -The Times Literary Supplement
Biographical NoteDavid Haskell's work integrates scientific, literary, and contemplative studies of the natural world. He is a professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of the South and a Guggenheim Fellow. His 2012 book The Forest Unseen was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, and won the 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies, the National Outdoor Book Award, and the Reed Environmental Writing Award.  Along with his scholarly research, he has published essays, op-eds, and poetry.