Fruitless Fall: Book summary and reviews of Fruitless Fall by Rowan Jacobsen

Fruitless Fall

The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis

by Rowan Jacobsen

Fruitless Fall by Rowan Jacobsen

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Book Summary

Many people will remember that Rachel Carson predicted a silent spring, but she also warned of a fruitless fall, a time when “there was no pollination and there would be no fruit.” The fruitless fall nearly became a reality last year when beekeepers watched one third of the honeybee population—thirty billion bees—mysteriously die. The deaths have continued in 2008.

Rowan Jacobsen uses the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder to tell the bigger story of bees and their’ essential connection to our daily lives. With their disappearance, we won’t just be losing honey. Industrial agriculture depends on the honeybee to pollinate most fruits, nuts, and vegetables—one third of American crops. Yet this system is falling apart. The number of these professional pollinators has become so inadequate that they are now trucked across the country and flown around the world, pushing them ever closer to collapse.

By exploring the causes of CCD and the even more chilling decline of wild pollinators, Fruitless Fall does more than just highlight this growing agricultural crisis. It emphasizes the miracle of flowering plants and their pollination partners, and urges readers not to take for granted the Edenic garden Homo sapiens has played in since birth. Our world could have been utterly different—and may be still.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The author... invests solid investigative journalism with a poet's voice to craft a fact-heavy book that soars." - Publishers Weekly.

"Intelligent, important assessment of a confusing phenomenon and its potentially catastrophic implications." - Kirkus Reviews.

"The apiculture industry now has its own Upton Sinclair—Fruitless Fall is an eye-opening, attitude-changing, and exceptionally engaging examination of America's most overlooked multi-billion-dollar industry." - May Berenbaum, professor of Entomology, University of Illinois, and Chair, National Research Council Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America.

"Past a certain point, we can't make nature conform to our industrial model. The collapse of beehives is a warning--and the cleverness of a few beekeepers in figuring out how to work with bees not as masters but as partners offers a clear-eyed kind of hope for many of our ecological dilemmas." - Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy.

"Rowan Jacobsen tells the fascinating -- and alarming -- story of honeybee decline with energy and insight." - Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

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More Information

Rowan Jacobsen writes about food, the environment, and the connections between the two. His work has appeared in the Art of Eating, the New York Times, Wild Earth, Wondertime, Culture & Travel, NPR.org, and elsewhere. He is the author of Chocolate Unwrapped and A Geography of Oysters. He lives in rural Vermont with his wife and son.

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