Insectopedia: Book summary and reviews of Insectopedia by Hugh Raffles

Insectopedia

by Hugh Raffles

Insectopedia by Hugh Raffles X
Insectopedia by Hugh Raffles

Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A stunningly original exploration of the beautiful, ancient, successful, astoundingly accomplished, largely unknown, and unfathomably different species with which we share this world.

For as long as humans have been here, insects have been here. Yet we hardly know them, not even the ones we’re closest to: the insects that eat our food, share our beds, live in our homes. Organizing his book alphabetically, with one entry for each letter, weaving together brief vignettes, meditations, and extended essays, Hugh Raffles uses the prism of history and science, anthropology and travel, economics and popular culture to show how insects have triggered our obsessions, stirred our fears, and beguiled our imaginations.

Raffles provides a glimpse into the ritualized world of Chinese cricket fighting, the deceptive courtship rituals of the dance fly, the vital and vicious role locusts play in the famines that afflict the African continent, the queer sexual practices among insects, the obsession of Japan’s entire culture with insects, how insects deformed by Chernobyl inspired art, and how our unease with insects has prompted aberrant behavior of our own.

Deftly combining the anecdotal and the scientific, Raffles has given us an essential book of reference that is, as well, a fascination of the highest order.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A]n enthralling hodgepodge of historical fact, anthropological observation, and scientific insight." - Publishers Weekly

"Let's be clear: this volume is not an encyclopedia....this is sure to amuse, educate, raise our hackles, unveil our guilt, and leave us to ponder just who we think we are anyway." - Library Journal

"Art, science, beetles, beauty, miracles, manias, and more—the world itself, dazzling, gleams freshly through Raffles' insect-eyed lens. Every page delighted me." - Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever (National Book Award winner) and The Voyage of the Narwhal

The information about Insectopedia shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Hugh Raffles teaches anthropology at the New School for Social Research. He is the author of In Amazonia: A Natural History, which received the Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing. His essays have been published in Best American Essays and Granta. He lives in New York City.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more history, science & current affairs...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    A hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Graybar Hotel
    by Curtis Dawkins
    We – those of us on the outside – are lucky. So very lucky. We get to experience life &#...
  • Book Jacket: We Own the Sky
    We Own the Sky
    by Luke Allnutt
    Rob and Anna Coates have an idyllic life together; they have successful careers, love each other ...
  • Book Jacket: Some Trick
    Some Trick
    by Helen DeWitt
    In this erudite collection of 13 stories, Helen DeWitt explores the theme of stymied creativity, ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Giveaway!
Win The Rules of Magic

Win up to 12 copies for you & your book club!

The spellbinding prequel to Alice Hoffman's bestselling Practical Magic.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

M T G Before I S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.