Oak: The Frame of Civilization

Oak: The Frame of Civilization

4.2 15
by William Bryant Logan
     
 

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The ultimate distance race is within your reach—a completely updated edition of the now-classic work.
Professional arborist and award-winning nature writer William Bryant Logan deftly relates the delightful history of the reciprocal relationship between humans and oak trees since time immemorial—a profound link that has almost been forgotten. From the

Overview

The ultimate distance race is within your reach—a completely updated edition of the now-classic work.
Professional arborist and award-winning nature writer William Bryant Logan deftly relates the delightful history of the reciprocal relationship between humans and oak trees since time immemorial—a profound link that has almost been forgotten. From the ink of Bach’s cantatas, to the first boat to reach the New World, to the wagon, the barrel, and the sword, oak trees have been a constant presence throughout our history. In fact, civilization prospered where oaks grew, and for centuries these supremely adaptable, generous trees have supported humankind in nearly every facet of life. “With an unabashed enthusiasm for his subject” (Carol Haggas, Booklist) Logan combines science, philosophy, spirituality, and history with a contagious curiosity about why the natural world works the way it does. At once humorous and reverent, “this splendid acknowledgment of a natural marvel” (Publishing News) reintroduces the oak tree so that we might see its vibrant presence throughout our history and our modern world.

Editorial Reviews

The mighty oak is omnipresent in human history. Visible throughout the world's temperate zones, this magnificent tree has long sustained both humans and animals with shelter and acorns. In addition, oak has been central to religious rites, heating, homemaking, and travel by land and sea. Ink from oak galls advanced the written word; oak casks have made possible food and drink storage and transport; and oak ships have fought major naval battles that have determined political and economic history. A fascinating look at the world's most distinguished deciduous tree.
Publishers Weekly
There's good reason for the oak being called mighty, writes certified arborist and former New York Times columnist Logan (Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth) in this sprawling biography of a tree. It's ubiquitous, highly adaptable and was once the most essential tree in the Earth's temperate zones. Easily harvested acorns arguably nurtured people long before they learned to sow and hunt. Oak lumber, readily available and remarkably flexible, once made possible the naval and trading ships of seafaring nations; the same wood, shaped by craftsmen using fundamentally the same tools for thousands of years, was used to craft casks that stored water, wine and food on long voyages and through the seasons. Now, the tree that, according to Logan, once shaped civilizations, providing all "the material necessities for human life," is used primarily in the Western world for wooden pallets and low-end flooring. With this multidisciplinary study's recipe for acorn bread, its paean to the currier's leather-making craft and the cooper's barrel-making skill, and its thumbnail forays into religious rites, natural science and the importance of squirrels and jays, this work is an entertaining and instructive homage to the oak. 30 illus. not seen by PW. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The biography of a tree that has been collectively embraced for its multifaceted grandeur. The oak has never been taken for granted. It may not be the tallest of trees, nor the oldest or strongest, but it is common, flexible and generous in its many uses. In this superb and inviting profile, arborist/journalist Logan (Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, 1995) tells of how post-glacial humans followed the oak much as Basques followed cod, eating of their bounty-acorns in this case-on their way to new worlds, be they Kurd, Kashmiri or Korean. We get one savory oak tidbit after another. Early people used oak to make roads through fens, and employed oak cysts as coffins ("a suit of oak"). The trees were prized for their spiritual qualities-Druid comes from dru, meaning oak, and wid, meaning to see or know: "oak knowledge"-and for their sacred sites (or at least that's what some of the sites appear to be, though their function is still guesswork), such as the great floating wooden island of Flag Fen, or the many henges that were more often made of wood than stone. And there's much more to mull over, all of it handled with care and thought by Logan: the construction of northern longboats, the brilliance of the oaken barrel's design, the superiority of gall ink (Leonardo's favorite), the oaken ships that allowed for world trade. The author delves also into the tree's physical make-up, from its clouds of roots to the mechanics of leaf making. Logan takes such joy in his subject that he can find humor even in the tanners' toil: "When the bark came away, it made a noise like a quack, so a party of barkers sounded like a flock of ducks."The Royal Oak, the democratic oak, an oak for every seasonand purpose, all respectfully, admiringly and insightfully laid out for readers to marvel at. And marvel they will. (30 illustrations, not seen)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393327786
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
07/24/2006
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
285,987
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

William Bryant Logan is a Quill & Trowel Award-winning writer, a member of the faculty at the New York Botanical Garden, a sought-after lecturer and teacher, and a practicing arborist. He is the author of Oak and Dirt, the latter of which was made into an award-winning documentary. He lives in New York City and the Hudson Valley.

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Oak: The Frame of Civilization 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
Logan presents an interesting perspective of human civilization from oak trees including the tree, acorns, and wood. He highlights some particular oaks and specific structures with fine details and deep considerations of how these shaped our civilization. The book is more about these structures than oak trees themselves. We have built on that history but still use oaks in many ways. He concludes his book with a nice chapter on oak ecology and a final comparison with the Eiffel Tower. He does a bit of philosophizing, value projecting, and referencing Christian scriptures/interpretation as well. I found the book well written, informative and interesting. I recommend this book for those interested in history, architecture, boats/ships, and oaks.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting plot line! Can't wait to hear more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iwould recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She waited for the mysterious cat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keep up the good work! XD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bei!))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"They ready hate me..." he sighs. (Yeh. Busy anyway. Wont check here again til tomorrow. Bye!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Are apprentices alowed to travel cause ive been to a lot of dens
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read mine at norman douglas first res