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Non-Fiction Gardening | Non-Fiction
We live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the
cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff
and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and
civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for
nutmeg and the humble peppercorn drove the Age of
Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the
Enlightenment, and cottonseed help spark the Industrial
Revolution. And from the Fall of Rome to the Arab Spring,
the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a
Middle Eastern grass known as wheat.
In nature and in culture, seeds are fundamental—objects of
beauty, evolutionary wonder, and simple fascination. How
many times has a child dropped the winged pip of a maple,
marveling as it spirals its way down to the ground, or
relished the way a gust of wind(or a stout breath) can
send a dandelion’s feathery flotilla skyward? Yet despite
their importance, seeds are often seen as a commonplace,
their extraordinary natural and human histories
overlooked. Thanks to Thor Hanson and this stunning new
book, they can be overlooked no more.
What makes The Triumph of Seeds remarkable is not just
that it is informative, humane, hilarious, and even
moving, just as what makes seeds remarkable is not simply
their fundamental importance to life. In both cases, it is
their sheer vitality and the delight that we can take in
their existence—the opportunity to experience, as Hanson
puts it, “the simple joy of seeing something beautiful,
doing what it is meant to do.” Spanning the globe from the
Raccoon Shack—Hanson’s backyard writing hideout-cum-
laboratory—to the coffee shops of Seattle, from gardens
and flower patches to the spice routes of Kerala, this is
a book of knowledge, adventure, and wonder, spun by an
award-winning writer with both the charm of a fireside
story-teller and the hard-won expertise of a field
biologist. A worthy heir to the grand tradition of Aldo
Leopold and Bernd Heinrich, The Triumph of Seeds takes us
on a fascinating scientific adventure through the wild and
beautiful world of seeds. It is essential reading for
anyone who loves to see a plant grow.
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