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Wall Street JournalThe rabbis of the Talmud counseled you that if you are planting a tree and someone tells you that the Messiah has come, you should finish planting your tree and then go out to investigate. Robert Pogue Harrison implies something similar in his rich and beguiling Gardens. Gardens, though they offer peace and repose, are islands of care, he writes, not a refuge from it. That is why they are important, since care is what makes us human. . . . In many ways Gardens is a personal essay as much as it is a work of scholarship. Mr. Harrison has planted his own garden of beautiful quotations and provocative speculation, and it is an absorbing and stimulating place to spend time.
— Jonathan Rosen