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Biophilia Digital – July 1 2009
--Paul R. Ehrlich (Natural History)
There's more to this unbuttoned and intellectually playful book than its plea for a conservation of ethic and the preservation of animal species in all their diversity. We get, for example, several autobiographical glimpses into the background of Professor Wilson...We see Professor Wilson as a boy growing up in the Florida panhandle...Elsewhere he astonishes us with a description of the mating dance of the male Emperor of Germany bird of paradise, and the degree of genetic congruity between pygmy chimpanzees and Homo Sapiens.
--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (New York Times)
E. O. Wilson is the entomologist Curator of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. His science writing for the general public has won him the Pulitzer Prize and his scientific publications have won him the highest honors American science can bestow. He is well equipped to engage a subject dear to nature-lovers which until now has not been identified as a species trait--biophilia. The freshness of Wilson's approach lies in its freedom from the obsessions of the environmentalist movement...While he shares the conservationist ethic of environmentalists, and seeks to impart its practical imperatives, he eschews cultism...Let this highly readable book then be commended to all biophiliacs and technocrats.
--Hiram Caton (Times Literary Supplement)
The book consists of a set of nine essays. Although they are masterpieces of prose style, they more effectively illustrate Wilson's own biophilia than his contention that biophilia exists as a general human trait...Wilson moves fluidly among minute observations of life forms ranging from leaf-cutter ants to birds of paradise, artfully pausing for a philosophical reflection here and a folksy anecdote there.
--John Wilkes (Los Angeles Times)
A fine memoir by one of America's foremost evolutionary biologists...erudite, elegant, and poetic (Natural History)
Biophilia is an immensely readable book. Wilson is a master storyteller, skillful at evoking exotic scenes. (Washington Post Book World)
Wilson's own empathy with things illuminates these essays with fresh perceptions of everyday matters...They are masterpieces of prose style. (Los Angeles Times)
About the Author
- Publisher : Harvard University Press (July 1 2009)
- Language : English
- Digital : 176 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0674045238
- ISBN-13 : 978-0674045231
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from Canada
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I expected this book to be an onslaught of scientific explanations and studies, but this was clearly not the case. Wilson writes about his worldly field biology travels with such rich, sensory language. It's actually fun to read.
In no section of the book does he thoroughly or methodically explain the construct of biophilia in a textbook fashion. Instead, he writes his very personal memoirs and takes us through rain forests and other areas teeming with tropical life. For readers familiar with Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Wilson writes as if "Biophilia" were one of the Endless, who are anthropomorphic personifications of ideas and states of human consciousness. In biophilia, Wilson writes a story (his own) that is INTENSELY biophilia THEMED, while not necessarily about biophilia explicitly.
Edward Wilson is a two time pulitzer prize winner, and a great writer at that. You'll be surprised how readable yet informative and entertaining this book is.
- Eden Phillpotts
Wilson crafted this book about the "love of life" for a wide-ranging audience. Biophilia begins in journalistic style recounting Wilson's various expeditions to the Amazon river basin in search of elusive species of ants. He describes the scenes in the forest with appeal to all five senses, making it easy to mentally accompany with Wilson upon his tropical trips. The adventurous feel in the opening chapters allows Wilson to demonstrate biophilia instead of describing it. It becomes obvious that biophilia is a major force affecting the way humans react to living organisms. Wilson describes biophilia as the "innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes."
In the middle of Biophilia, Wilson sorts out different time divisions, arguing that the way you organize time creates biases. Wilson holds that most humans divided time according to their own evolution. Humans are not the only species that matter. Bacteria, fungi, protoctists, and plants have been around far longer than Homo sapiens, and humans depend on these other kingdoms for survival. This argument allows Wilson to build a platform from which to apply his notion of biophilia.
Wilson alludes to a "conservation ethic" throughout the first half of the book of which he makes his readers aware in later chapters of Biophilia. Wilson's term "conservation ethic" describes what humans need to do because of biophilia. Clear evidence shows that humans depend on other living organisms for survival. Wilson argues that humans need to care for natural resources if we want to remain alive. He uses this book as strong evidence to form global awareness of biophilia and the conservation consequences it warrants.
Wilson closes this book by recapping his intense accounts of the explorations of untamed nature in the Amazon river basin. He mentally leads the reader through forests with clear descriptions of the thousands of organisms he encountered.
The interspersed chapters of his adventures through nature were welcome surprises to his technical arguments in favor of biophilia. Wilson's enthusiasm for other living organisms is contagious, and his enthusiasm makes this book both entertaining and applicable.
Also, his biography, The Naturalist, is an amazing read. If you read this book and enjoy his work, pick up The Naturalist next time.
E.O. Wilson writes with great flair and passion; not to mention much authority.