Life in the Undergrowth

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Overview

"In Life in the Undergrowth, Sir David Attenborough again makes the difficult seem effortless—he delivers with characteristic grace and informality intimate details of the lives of creatures that often pass without notice, and yet on whom the functioning of this biological planet rests. I believe this to be the very best in his series—the sense of breathless wonder in his subject is palpable—and it joins the classic collections of nature essays by E. O. Wilson, Thomas Eisner, and Rachel Carson."—Brian D. Farrell, Professor of Biology and Curator in Entomology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.

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Editorial Reviews

Globe & Mail
David Attenborough is one of those beloved Brits equally at home on the small screen or on the page, and Life in the Undergrowth is a companion volume to a television series of the same name. On the cover, a damselfly with the biggest, bluest eyes you ever saw peers out, inviting the reader in for one of Attenborough's trademark forays into the lives—social, sexual and gustatory, if not psychological—of creatures that comprise some 80 percent, says Stephen Marshall [author of Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity] of all identified animal species, with doubtless many more to come.
— Martin Levin
New York Review of Books - Tim Flannery
With its superb synthesis of the majority of living species, Life in the Undergrowth is a high point in David Attenborough's career, but it is also an elegant restatement of something he has spent a lifetime trying to teach: we are simply one species among a multitude, all of which are worthy of our interest and respect.
Globe and Mail - Martin Levin
David Attenborough is one of those beloved Brits equally at home on the small screen or on the page, and Life in the Undergrowth is a companion volume to a television series of the same name. On the cover, a damselfly with the biggest, bluest eyes you ever saw peers out, inviting the reader in for one of Attenborough's trademark forays into the lives—social, sexual and gustatory, if not psychological—of creatures that comprise some 80 percent, says Stephen Marshall [author of Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity] of all identified animal species, with doubtless many more to come.
First Things - John Wilson
[A] beautifully produced study of fossil invertebrates.
-Booklist
Attenborough is at it again, exploring the natural world with his team of cinematographers and clearly explaining what they've found to a lay audience. . . The text is always lively.
From the Publisher
"With its superb synthesis of the majority of living species, Life in the Undergrowth is a high point in David Attenborough's career, but it is also an elegant restatement of something he has spent a lifetime trying to teach: we are simply one species among a multitude, all of which are worthy of our interest and respect."—Tim Flannery, New York Review of Books

"A companion to a new television program on Animal Planet, this wonderful exploration of invertebrates exceeds the requirements for a great nature book through the strength of its photographs and the quality of its prose."—Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"Attenborough is at it again, exploring the natural world with his team of cinematographers and clearly explaining what they've found to a lay audience. . . The text is always lively."—-Booklist

"The stories told in this book are astonishing, and Attenborough knows just what wonder buttons to push. . . . This is a beautifully written book—a worthwhile addition to any family library and a fitting companion for anyone's lap while watching Life in the the Undergrowth."—Biology Digest

"Well-known naturalist Attenborough has written this book in a most engaging manner. Illustrated with stunning photographs, it serves both to inspire and inform."—Choice

"David Attenborough is one of those beloved Brits equally at home on the small screen or on the page, and Life in the Undergrowth is a companion volume to a television series of the same name. On the cover, a damselfly with the biggest, bluest eyes you ever saw peers out, inviting the reader in for one of Attenborough's trademark forays into the lives—social, sexual and gustatory, if not psychological—of creatures that comprise some 80 percent, says Stephen Marshall [author of Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity] of all identified animal species, with doubtless many more to come."—Martin Levin, Globe and Mail

"[A] beautifully produced study of fossil invertebrates."—John Wilson, First Things

New York Review of Books
With its superb synthesis of the majority of living species, Life in the Undergrowth is a high point in David Attenborough's career, but it is also an elegant restatement of something he has spent a lifetime trying to teach: we are simply one species among a multitude, all of which are worthy of our interest and respect.
— Tim Flannery
Booklist
Attenborough is at it again, exploring the natural world with his team of cinematographers and clearly explaining what they've found to a lay audience. . . The text is always lively.
Biology Digest
The stories told in this book are astonishing, and Attenborough knows just what wonder buttons to push. . . . This is a beautifully written book—a worthwhile addition to any family library and a fitting companion for anyone's lap while watching Life in the the Undergrowth.
Choice
Well-known naturalist Attenborough has written this book in a most engaging manner. Illustrated with stunning photographs, it serves both to inspire and inform.
Globe and Mail

David Attenborough is one of those beloved Brits equally at home on the small screen or on the page, and Life in the Undergrowth is a companion volume to a television series of the same name. On the cover, a damselfly with the biggest, bluest eyes you ever saw peers out, inviting the reader in for one of Attenborough's trademark forays into the lives—social, sexual and gustatory, if not psychological—of creatures that comprise some 80 percent, says Stephen Marshall [author of Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity] of all identified animal species, with doubtless many more to come.
— Martin Levin

First Things
[A] beautifully produced study of fossil invertebrates.
— John Wilson
Globe and Mail
David Attenborough is one of those beloved Brits equally at home on the small screen or on the page, and Life in the Undergrowth is a companion volume to a television series of the same name. On the cover, a damselfly with the biggest, bluest eyes you ever saw peers out, inviting the reader in for one of Attenborough's trademark forays into the lives—social, sexual and gustatory, if not psychological—of creatures that comprise some 80 percent, says Stephen Marshall [author of Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity] of all identified animal species, with doubtless many more to come.
— Martin Levin
New York Review of Books
With its superb synthesis of the majority of living species, Life in the Undergrowth is a high point in David Attenborough's career, but it is also an elegant restatement of something he has spent a lifetime trying to teach: we are simply one species among a multitude, all of which are worthy of our interest and respect.
— Tim Flannery
Publishers Weekly
A companion to a new television program on Animal Planet, this wonderful exploration of invertebrates exceeds the requirements for a great nature book through the strength of its photographs and the quality of its prose. It helps that veteran naturalist and author Attenborough (The Life of Birds) brings the enthusiasm of an animal lover and the knowledge of a polymath to his goal: tracing the broad history of the development of "this vast invertebrate world, which constitutes by far the greatest numbers of both species and individuals on earth." His material is arranged in five chapters ranging from the first "invasion" of land by invertebrates to the complex "supersocieties" that many have developed. Along the way he describes literally hundreds of species, such as the "cartoon-like" velvet worm, the "cartwheel" mating position of dragonflies and the exploding "suicide bombers" of the Globotermes ant family. Each page of text offers at least one remarkable description, further enhanced by the 275 photographs; minuscule cameras and new optical systems make it possible to provide elegant glimpses of invertebrates "behaving normally and in intimate detail." One of the most striking of these photos (used on the jacket) is an extreme closeup of a bug-eyed yet almost human-looking damselfly. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691127033
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/2/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Sir David Attenborough is one of the best-loved naturalists of our time. He is the author of "The Life of Birds, The Life of Mammals, The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior," and "Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster" (all Princeton) and "Life on Earth". He has presented numerous world-renowned and award-winning natural history documentaries.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 9
1 The invasion of the land 11
2 The first to fly 60
3 The silk spinners 110
4 Intimate relations 166
5 Supersocieties 216
Evolutionary chart 278
Acknowledgments 280
Sources of photographs 282
Index 286
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sir David Does it Again

    Attenborough has put together another fascinating overview of one of the animal groups. He surveys the sex lives or spiders, the strategies of predatory insects, the social organization of bees and ants, and many other topics of interest in the world of invertebrates. Read it it and you will feel as if he is taking with him on a journey in an alien world. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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