The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature

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9780670023370: The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature

Winner of 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies.
Finalist for 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

Winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award.
Winner of the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature.

Runner-up for 2013 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.

A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest

In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature's path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.

Each of this book's short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home.

Written with remarkable grace and empathy, The Forest Unseen is a grand tour of nature in all its profundity. Haskell is a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.

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About the Author:

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.

Review:

"Very much a contemporary biologist in his familiarity with genetics and population ecology, he also has the voracious synthetic imagination of a 19th-century naturalist. ...a sensitive writer, conjuring with careful precision the worlds he observes and delighting the reader with insightful turns of phrase." The Wall Street Journal.

"...as beautiful a book as I've read in years...I can't remember the last time I encountered so much spiritual wisdom, ecological intelligence and contagious love for the grandeur of life..." Chattanooga Times Free Press.

"Brimming with sensual details, when Haskell's modest patch of turf removes its glasses, it's as sexy as Marian the Librarian." Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

"An extraordinary, intimate view of life... Exceptional observations of the biological world..." Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review for "books of remarkable merit."

"Mixing poetry with natural history, he follows subtle scientific threads...to conclusions of gratifying breadth." Conservation Magazine.

 “Haskell leads the reader into a new genre of nature writing, located between science and poetry, in which the invisible appear, the small grow large, and the immense complex and beauty of life are more clearly revealed.” (Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University )

 “In the style of Aldo Leopold, John Muir, and Thoreau, David Haskell has captured the beauty and intricacy of evolution in these pages. For those who are looking for inspiration to spend more time in the wild, this book is the perfect companion. Haskell’s vast knowledge of the forest and all its creatures is the perfect guide to exploring wilderness. The prose is a perfect match for the poetic tranquility found through the study of nature. A true naturalist’s manifesto.”  (Greg Graffin, author of Anarchy Evolution )

 "David Haskell trains his eye on a single square meter of the Cumberland Plateau, and manages in the process to see the whole living planet as clearly as any writer in many years. Each chapter will teach you something new!" (Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet )

“...a welcome entry in the world of nature writers. He 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

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