The Triumph of Seeds
February 10, 2020 9:18 AM - by Thor Hanson - Subscribe

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 pepper drove the Age of Discovery, coffee beans fueled the Enlightenment and cottonseed sparked the Industrial Revolution. Seeds are fundamental objects of beauty, evolutionary wonders, and simple fascinations. Yet, despite their importance, seeds are often seen as commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked. Thanks to this stunning new book, they can be overlooked no more. 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 fascinating scientific adventure, it is essential reading for anyone who loves to see a plant grow.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (2 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is a lovely book from a nature author who never disappoints. From the wheat and rice we eat to the coffee we drink to the cotton we wear, so much of our lives is dependent on seeds. But why did seeds evolve? How do they work? Why do pepper seeds make our mouths burn and caffeine make us buzz? This book takes a look at the science behind seeds in an easy to read, but still informative book.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2020

I too loved this book and it was one of my recommendations on clawsoon's post last year about non-fiction books. It gave me a new way of looking at seeds but I read it three years ago so I think it's time for a reread. I don't care for science books that are mainly about the scientists rather than the science (archaeology suffering particularly from this treatment) and I noted in my reading log that he stuck pretty well to the subject but I did enjoy his experiments with his son.
I have just started Peter Kalm's Travels into North America. He observed and recorded the natural history in meticulous detail which is really quite pleasant to read as an antidote to news and politics.
posted by Botanizer at 3:43 PM on February 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

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