The Forest Unseen: Book summary and reviews of The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell

The Forest Unseen

A Year's Watch in Nature

by David George Haskell

The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell X
The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell
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Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Equally as informative as and far more enjoyable than any biology textbook, the book provides valuable insight and perspective on a world that is often missed in the bustle of modern society. Exceptional observations of the biological world worthy of any naturalist's library." - Kirkus Reviews

"Haskell brings the aspects of forest life that most often go unnoticed to the forefront with vibrant detail as he easily moves from microscopic to global observations. His book should prove engaging for a variety of audiences - from serious readers of nature writing to casual readers of nonfiction. Recommended." - Library Journal

"This informative and inspiring meditation will give curious readers a few new things to pay attention to when walking through the woods." - Publishers Weekly

"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

"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

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Reader Reviews

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Steve P

A new perpscetive
I am a resource professional that works in the forest, glades and woodlands of Missouri. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the unique perspective on nature it presented. I would go so far as to compare it favorably to "A Sand County Almanac".

Book reviewer 6969

Really crappy book
Boring as heck and made me want to kill myself!

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More Information

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.

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