There are redwoods in California that were ancient by the time Columbus first landed, and pines still alive that germinated around the time humans invented writing. There are Douglas firs as tall as skyscrapers, and a banyan tree in Calcutta as big as a football field. From the tallest to the smallest, trees inspire wonder in all of us, and in ...Read MoreThere are redwoods in California that were ancient by the time Columbus first landed, and pines still alive that germinated around the time humans invented writing. There are Douglas firs as tall as skyscrapers, and a banyan tree in Calcutta as big as a football field. From the tallest to the smallest, trees inspire wonder in all of us, and in "The Tree, " Colin Tudge travels around the world--throughout the United States, the Costa Rican rain forest, Panama and Brazil, India, New Zealand, China, and most of Europe--bringing to life stories and facts about the trees around us: how they grow old, how they eat and reproduce, how they talk to one another (and they do), and why they came to exist in the first place. He considers the pitfalls of being tall; the things that trees produce, from nuts and rubber to wood; and even the complicated debt that we as humans owe them. Tudge takes us to the Amazon in flood, when the water is deep enough to submerge the forest entirely and fish feed on fruit while river dolphins race through the canopy. He explains the "memory" of a tree: how those that have been shaken by wind grow thicker and sturdier, while those attacked by pests grow smaller leaves the following year; and reveals how it is that the same trees found in the United States are also native to China (but not Europe). From tiny saplings to centuries-old redwoods and desert palms, from the backyards of the American heartland to the rain forests of the Amazon and the bamboo forests, Colin Tudge takes the reader on a journey through history and illuminates our ever-present but often ignored companions. A blend of history, science, philosophy, and environmentalism, "The Tree" is an engaging and elegant look at the life of the tree and what modern research tells us about their future. "From the Hardcover edition."Read Less
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. An informative and thought provoking read. I've started to read it a second time.
Jul 27, 2008
This book seems very promising in the beginning. In fact the first third is very good, wherein Tudge explains the evolution of trees themselves and of different groups of trees. In the second part of the book, Tudge attempts to talk about every taxonomic group of trees. The problem is that his scope is too wide. There is not enough detail as he talks about each group. For instance, when talking about a particular group fo conifers, he refers to their "unique cones"---without saying what makes them unique. This lack of detail persists throughout the latter two-thirds of the book. There is not much to learn from this latter portion, and it is very disappointing when compared the first part.
Apr 26, 2007
A tree to live by
The first part outlines the way trees are classified and named, a seemingly very dry subject, but Colin Tudge makes it almost exciting so one looks forward to to seeing what new wonders these amazing "Bushy Things with a Stick Up the Middle" will have managed to develop in various environments and locations all over the world as the continents drifted around over the hot magma of this old blue ball.
The remainder of the book treats the why, when, where and how of these almost silent giants and their tiny associates of fungi, insects and birds as they have conquered the world for their own benefit while providing the environmental changes that mothered the evolution of our own mankind and thousands of other species of animals and plants.
The author also gives a logical sounding rationale for the importance of trees in our and the world's future.
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