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The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring

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Overview

Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees,Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until ...

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Overview

Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees,Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored.

The canopy voyagers are young–just college students when they start their quest–and they share a passion for these trees, persevering in spite of sometimes crushing personal obstacles and failings. They take big risks, they ignore common wisdom (such as the notion that there’s nothing left to discover in North America), and they even make love in hammocks stretched between branches three hundred feet in the air.

The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems that have fused and formed flying buttresses, sometimes carved into blackened chambers, hollowed out by fire, called “fire caves.” Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life that is unknown to science. Humans move through the deep canopy suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, knowing that the price of a small mistake can be a plunge to one’s death.

Preston’s account of this amazing world, by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, is an adventure story told in novelistic detail by a master of nonfiction narrative. The author shares his protagonists’ passion for tall trees, and he mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to tell the story in The Wild Trees–the story of the fate of the world’s most splendid forests and of the imperiled biosphere itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Grace Lichtenstein
Preston invokes the spirit of, among others, Darwin, Audubon and Jacques Cousteau as he makes the case that Sillett and the others are master explorers who have begun to reveal the enchantment and majesty of the world's largest living things, some of them thousands of years old. And a reader can't help but compare these skywalking Ph.Ds, inventors and oddballs with mountaineers such as Whymper, Mallory, Hillary and Norgay who challenged the world's highest peaks, especially as the tree climbers bestow appropriately grand names on their discoveries: Atlas, Gaia, Icarus, Helios, Hyperion, the Screaming Titans.
— The Washington Post
Janet Maslin
As illustrated by Andrew Joslin, whose plain line drawings of redwood structure are astonishing, The Wild Trees presents its subjects as “the blue whales of the plant kingdom.” Mr. Preston writes that “in order to see a giant tree you need a magnifying glass,” and this book is fascinating in its keen, inquisitive account of the redwoods’ biosphere.
— The New York Times
Kate Zernike
…however tall, dark and important the redwoods may be, a tree has only so much personality, and it takes more to sustain 300 pages. The Wild Trees is best when Preston portrays the collection of characters drawn to the canopy—the Southern California skateboarder, say, or the coupon distributor who posits that global warming may be making the redwoods taller.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
In this radical departure from Preston's bestsellers on catastrophic diseases (The Demon in the Freezer, etc.), he journeys into the perpendicular universe of the world's tallest trees. Mostly California redwoods, they are the colossal remnants of a lost world, some predating the fall of Rome. Suspended in their crowns, hundreds of feet above the forest floor, is a primeval kingdom of plants and animals that only a handful of people have ever seen. Now, thanks to Preston and a custom-made tree-climbing apparatus called a "spider rig," we get to see it, too. According to Preston, it wasn't until the 1980s that humans made the first forays into the tops of "supertall" trees, in excess of 350 feet high. The people who pioneered their exploration are a rarefied bunch-equal parts acrobat, adventurer and scientist. The book revolves around botanist Steve Sillett, an exceptional athlete with a tormented soul who found his calling while making a borderline suicidal "free" climb to the top of an enormous redwood in 1987, where he discovered a world of startling complexity and richness. More than 30 stories above the ground, he found himself surrounded by a latticework of fused branches hung with gardens of ferns and trees bearing no relation to their host. In this Tolkienesque realm of sky and wind, lichens abound while voles and salamanders live and breed without awareness of the earth below. At almost the exact moment that Sillett was having his epiphany in the redwood canopy, Michael Taylor, the unfocused son of a wealthy real estate developer, had a revelation in another redwood forest 200 miles to the south. Taylor, who had a paralyzing fear of heights, decided to go in search of the world's tallest tree. Their obsessive quests led these young men into a potent friendship and the discovery of some of the most extraordinary creatures that have ever lived. Preston's tireless research, crystalline writing style and narrative gifts are well suited to the subject. Sillett, Taylor and their cohorts, who include a Canadian botanist named Marie Antoine, are fascinating, often deeply wounded characters. Their collective passion and intensity have illuminated one of the most vulnerable and poorly understood ecosystems on this continent. Preston adds a personal twist by mastering the arcane tree climber's art of "skywalking" and partnering with Sillett and Antoine on some of their most ambitious ascents. As impressive as this is, Preston's cameo appearance disrupts the flow of the main narrative and somewhat dilutes its considerable power. John Vaillant is the author of The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Norton) and winner of the Canadian Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction (2005). Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Preston leaps from The Hot Zone into a grove of Sequoia sempervirens, or the California redwoods. With an 11-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812975598
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/12/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 114,982
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Preston

Richard Preston is the bestselling author of The Hot Zone, The Demon in the Freezer, and the novel The Cobra Event. A writer for The New Yorker since 1985, Preston is the only nondoctor to have received the Centers for Disease Control’s Champion of Prevention Award. He also holds an award from the American Institute of Physics. Preston lives outside of New York City.
www.richardpreston.net

Biography

Richard Preston is a versatile and unique writer. He's penned nonfiction and fiction, both to popular and critical acclaim. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, he's written books about the vast intricacies and limitlessness of outer space; about microscopic, infinitely complex and deadly viruses; and—well before September 11—about the all-too-real threat of biological terrorism.

Preston is best known for creating a media frenzy and subsequent shockwave of terror in 1994 with his critically acclaimed, No. 1 New York Times bestseller, The Hot Zone. In a gripping, narrative style, The Hot Zone, relates a gripping true tale: In late 1989 in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., strands of the Ebola virus were found in the carcass of recently imported monkey from Africa. The book recounts the heroic efforts of soldiers and scientists as they attempted to avert a deadly outbreak of the virus, which is highly contagious and reputedly kills 90 percent of those it infects. Stephen King called it "one of the most horrifying things I've ever read."

The Hot Zone succeeded, not solely because the story was infectiously compelling and masterfully told, but because it was chilling to the bone. People were genuinely frightened. Everyone wanted to know, "Can this actually happen?" and "Are we really prepared if it does?"

Preston's next project, The Cobra Event, still has readers asking these same questions. The amazing achievement here: It's a work of fiction. About a biological terror attack on New York City, the plausibility of such a scenario is now, in our post-9/11 world, even more believable and scary. In fact, when then-President Bill Clinton read The Cobra Event, he was horrified. The New York Times reported: "Mr. Clinton was so alarmed by The Cobra Event that he instructed intelligence experts to evaluate its credibility." Preston recalled in a magazine interview: "So I get this frantic series of calls on my answering machine; 'Newt Gingrich is trying to reach you. He's been instructed by the President to call you and get your advice.' So I think, right, sure. But I end up talking with Gingrich for quite some time about biological terrorism." Preston has since appeared before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism & Government Information and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Chemical and Biological Weapons Threats to America.

Of The Cobra Event,Newsweek wrote, "…Preston has inadvertently created a new hybrid of fact and fiction…" Inadvertent or not, Preston's almost indistinguishable blending of fact and fiction makes for a great read. Like his nonfiction, the characters are highly developed and the pacing is swift. And the fear factor: intense long after the last page is read.

Like fellow nonfiction writers Mark Bowden (Black Hawk Down) and Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air) and novelist Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Timeline, etc.), Preston has perfected the art of character. Science provides the backdrop to his work, but it never gets in the way of the story. After all, he's not a scientist. "I'm a writer, pure and simple," Preston once said. "I write about people."

Good To Know

An asteroid is named after Richard Preston. Called Asteroid Preston, it is approximately 3-5 miles across, and could actually collide with Mars—or Earth!—in approximately 100,00 years.

The Hot Zone inspired the 1995 hit movie Outbreak, which attracted an all-star cast led by Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Donald Sutherland. The actual film version of Preston's book never got made; it stalled, and the competing project that became Outbreak was the one that made it to theaters.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hopewell, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 5, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A., Pomona College, 1976; Ph.D. in English, Princeton University, 1983
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

1

VERTICAL EDEN

NAMELESS

One day in the middle of October 1987, a baby-blue Honda Civic with Alaska license plates, a battered relic of the seventies, sped along the Oregon Coast Highway, moving south on the headlands. Below the road, surf broke around sea stacks, filling the air with haze. The car turned into a deserted parking lot near a beach and stopped.

A solid-looking young man got out from the driver's side. He had brown hair that was going prematurely gray, and he wore gold-rimmed spectacles, which gave him an intellectual look. His name was Marwood Harris, and he was a senior at Reed College, in Portland, majoring in English and history. He walked off to the side of the parking lot and unzipped his fly. There was a splashing sound.

Meanwhile, thin, somewhat tall young man emerged from the passenger side of the car. He had a bony face, brown eyes, a mop of sun- streaked brown hair, and he wore a pair of bird-watching binoculars around his neck. T. Scott Sillett was a junior at the University of Arizona, twenty-one years old, visiting Oregon during fall break. He took up his binoculars and began to study a flock of shorebirds running along the surf.

The interior of the Honda Civic was made of blue vinyl, and the back seat was piled with camping gear that pressed up against the windows. The pile of stuff moved and a leg emerged, followed by a curse, and a third young man struggled out and stood up. "Mardiddy, this car of yours is going to be the death of us all," he said to Marwood Harris. He was Stephen C. Sillett, the younger brother of Scott Sillett. Steve Sillett was nineteen and a junior at Reed College, majoring in biology. He was shorter and more muscular than his older brother. Steve Sillett had feathery light-brown hair, which hung out from under a sky-blue bandanna that he wore tied around his head like a cap. He had flaring shoulders, and his eyes were dark brown and watchful, and were set deep in a square face. The Sillett brothers stood shoulder to shoulder, looking at the birds. Their bodies were outlined against decks of autumn rollers coming in, giving off a continual roar. Scott handed the binoculars to his younger brother, and their hands touched for an instant. The Sillett brothers' hands had the same appearance-fine and sensitive-looking, with deft movements.

Scott turned to Marwood: "Marty, I think your car should be called the Blue Vinyl Crypt. That's what it will turn into if we fall off a cliff or get swiped by a logging truck."

"Dude, you're going to get us into a crash that will be biblical in its horror," Steve said to Marwood. "You need to let Scott drive." (Steve didn't know how to drive a car.)

Marwood didn't want Scott's help with the driving. "It's a very idiosyncratic car," he explained to the Sillett brothers. In theory, he fixed his car himself. In practice, he worried about it. Lately he had noticed that the engine had begun to give off a clattering sound, like a sewing machine. He had also become aware of an ominous smell coming from under the hood, something that resembled the smell of an empty iron skillet left forgotten on a hot stove. As Marwood contemplated these phenomena and pondered their significance, he wondered if his car needed an oil change. He was pretty sure that the oil had been changed about two years ago, in Alaska, around the time the license plates had expired. The car had been driven twenty thousand miles since then, unregistered, uninsured, and unmaintained, strictly off the legal and mechanical grids. "I'm worried you'll screw it up," he said to Scott.

Steve handed the binoculars to his brother and climbed into the back of the Blue Vinyl Crypt. "Dudes, let's go," he said. "We need to see some tall redwoods."

They planned to go backpacking in one of the small California state parks that contain patches of ancient coast redwood forest. None of the young men had ever seen a redwood forest. Steve seemed keyed up.

The coast redwood tree is an evergreen conifer and a member of the cypress family. Its scientific name is Sequoia sempervirens. It is sometimes called the California redwood, but most often it is simply referred to as the redwood. No one knows exactly when or where the redwood entered the history of life on earth, though it is an ancient kind of tree, and has come down to our world as an inheritance out of deep time. A redwood has furrowed, fibrous bark, and a tall, straight trunk. It has soft, flat needles that become short and spiky near the top of the tree. The tree produces seeds but does not bear flowers. The seeds of a redwood are released from cones that are about the size of olives. The heartwood of the tree is a dark, shimmery red in color, like old claret. The wood has a lemony scent, and is extremely resistant to rot.

Redwoods grow in valleys and on mountains along the coast of California, mostly within ten miles of the sea. They reach enormous sizes in the mild, rainy climate of the northern stretches of the coast. Parts of the North Coast of California are covered with temperate rain forest. A rain forest is usually considered to be a forest that gets at least eighty inches of rain a year, and parts of the North Coast get more than that. A temperate rain forest has a cool, moist, even climate, not too hot or cold. Redwoods flourish in fog, but they don't like salt air. They tend to appear in valleys that are just out of sight of the sea. In their relationship with the sea, redwoods are like cats that long to be stroked but are shy to the touch. The natural range of the coast redwoods begins at a creek in Big Sur that flows down a mountain called Mount Mars. From there, the redwoods run up the California coast in a broken ribbon, continuing to just inside Oregon. Fourteen miles up the Oregon coast, in the valley of the Chetco River, the redwoods stop.

The coast redwood is the tallest species of tree on earth. The tallest redwoods today are between 350 and close to 380 feet in height-thirty-five to thirty-eight stories tall. The crown of a tree is its radiant array of limbs and branches, covered with leaves. The crown of a supertall redwood has a towering, cloudy, irregular form, and the crowns of the tallest redwoods can sometimes look like the plume of exhaust from a rocket taking off.

Botanists make a distinction between the height of a tree and its overall size, which is measured by the amount of wood the tree has in its trunks and limbs. The largest redwoods, which are called redwood giants or redwood titans, are usually not the very tallest ones, although they are still among the world's tallest trees-they are typically more than three hundred feet tall. Today, almost no trees of any species, anywhere, reach more than three hundred feet tall, except for redwoods. The main trunk of a redwood titan can be as much as thirty feet in diameter near its base.

Many people who are familiar with coast redwoods have seen them in the Muir Woods National Monument, in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Muir Woods, which is visited by nearly a million people every year, is a tiny patch of virgin, primeval redwood forest, and it is like a small window that reveals a glimpse of the way much of Northern California looked in prehistoric times. Though the redwoods in the Muir Woods are hauntingly beautiful trees, they are relatively small and are not very tall, at least for redwoods. The redwoods you can see in the Muir Woods are nothing like the redwood titans that stand in the rain-forest valleys of the North Coast, closer to Oregon. They are the dreadnoughts of their kind, the blue whales of the plant kingdom.

Nobody knows the ages of any of the living giant coast redwoods, because nobody has ever drilled into one of them in order to count its annual growth rings. Drilling into an old redwood would not reveal its age, anyway, because the oldest redwoods seem to be hollow; they don't have growth rings left in their centers to be counted. Botanists suspect that the oldest living redwoods may be somewhere between two thousand and three thousand years old-they seem to be roughly the age of the Parthenon.

The road became the California Coast Highway, and the Sillett brothers and Marwood Harris drove past Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, in Del Norte County. They didn't stop to look at the redwoods there. They went through Crescent City, a tired-looking town. They passed a Carl's Jr. fast-food restaurant, and a lumber mill, and bars and taverns, dark in daylight, where you could get a beer for a dollar and maybe get a fractured skull for nothing.

The redwood forests around Crescent City had been logged. The road went past stretches of open land covered with bare stumps, and past seas of young redwood trees growing on timber-company land, which looked like plantations of fuzzy Christmas trees. Here and there on the ridges were a few last stands of virgin, ancient redwoods, looming above everything else. They looked like Mohawk haircuts.

The road entered Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and the highway was suddenly lined with extremely tall redwoods. Steve Sillett began thrashing around in the back of the Crypt. "Stop the car! I'm getting out."

Marwood pulled off to the side of the road. Steve squeezed out of the back seat and took off, running into the forest. Scott and Marwood waited in the car.

"What's he doing?"

"He's looking at the trees."

"Oh, God."

They rolled down the windows. "Steve! We're not there yet! Get back in the fricking car!"

Twenty miles farther down the road, they came to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. The park occupies a sliver of wrinkled terrain, eight miles long and four miles wide, lying along the Pacific Ocean on the northern edge of Humboldt County. The North Coast along those parts is covered with rain forests, and the forests are often hidden in clouds and fog. The beaches along the North Coast are made of gray sand, gnawed by waves the color of steel. The beaches rise into bluffs, which become the California Coast Ranges, a maze of ridges and steep, narrow valleys, clad with deep temperate rain forest. The forest is dominated by coast redwoods.

As they entered the park, Steve was hunched over, staring at a map. Marwood slowed to a crawl. Trucks whipped past them. Steve ordered Marwood to stop, and he pulled off the highway and rammed the Blue Vinyl Crypt into the underbrush, to get it out of sight. They were planning to camp in some wild spot among the redwoods, but it is illegal to camp in the redwood parks except in a few public campgrounds, and they didn't want the rangers to notice their car.

They put on their backpacks and hurried along a trail that went westward, climbing toward a ridge and the ocean, passing through a redwood forest. The trees had stony-gray bark. They looked like the columns of a ruined temple. The ground was made up of rotting redwood needles, and it was covered with sword ferns-tall, stiff ferns- growing chest high. Everywhere there were spatters of redwood sorrel- small, emerald-green plants with heart-shaped leaves.

The trail came to the crest of a ridge and dropped down into a valley that opened toward the ocean. As they went over the ridge, the sound of trucks on the highway faded away. A hush came over the world, and it grew dark. There was no sunlight at the bottom of the redwood forest, only a dim, gray-green glow, like the light at the bottom of the sea. The air grew sweet, and carried a tang of lemons. They became aware of a vast forest canopy spreading over their heads.

Steve Sillett moved out ahead along the trail, and Marwood Harris followed close behind him. Scott Sillett lingered, holding his binoculars in his hands and looking and listening for birds. It was so quiet in the redwood forest that he could hear the sound of his breathing. The trunks of the redwoods were grooved pedestals extending upward into hidden structures. He imagined that they were silent ruined towers of Middle-earth. Birds were moving in the canopy, but the birds were few and were quiet, for they don't sing in the autumn. He was hoping to see a varied thrush.

"Scott, we need to keep moving." Steve was standing up ahead, tapping his foot restlessly.

Scott watched his younger brother disappear down the trail. He thought that there was something fragile about Steve. Steve was a restless person, driven, passionate, intense, and he always seemed to be running out of time. He concealed his insecurity and sensitivity in a shell of prickliness and a weird sense of humor. Steve had a gloomy streak, and a tendency to be moody, to become angry and depressed, as if he had a hidden wound that oozed and could never heal. He also had an impulsive, generous nature, and his kindheartedness could get him into trouble.

The Sillett brothers had grown up sharing a bunk bed in a little bedroom in a duplex house with a neat yard in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Scott had claimed the top bunk, because he was older, and Steve had slept in the bottom. As children, they had invented a private language, which no one else could understand, and they still sometimes spoke it with each other. It sounded like some kind of bizarre German. Their father, Terence B. Sillett, had majored in mathematics in college but had been unemployed for a number of years. Before he stopped working, he had been a salesman. He had sold insurance, real estate, and auto parts, and he had also worked as a chimneysweep, but he had developed spiritual longings. Eventually, he grew a beard and began meditating and spending a lot of time reading books on reincarnation and Hinduism and esoteric forms of Christianity. "I wanted to understand what the being called Christ was," Terence Sillett explained to me once.

The boys' mother, Julianna Sillett, discussed matters with Terence, and they decided to switch roles. She became the full-time money- earner in the family. She was a registered nurse, and she got a job working in the labor-and-delivery room at a hospital in Harrisburg. Terence stayed at home during the day and took care of the boys and their sister, Liana, the youngest of the Sillett children. He did the grocery shopping, cooked meals for the children, made their school lunches, supervised their homework, and he tucked them into bed when their mother was working the night shift at the hospital. Alcohol became a steady companion of Terence Sillett.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    A miniature world thriving in the bosom of giant sequoia trees, hidden from human eyes

    Combining the splendor of nature with the magic of his mechanical pen, the Richard Preston has written a book filled with thrilling adventure and charming anecdotes. Written in mellifluous prose with exceptional clarity, parts of the book read like a meditative literary novel. And some parts read like a horror novel also, full of scary situations. This book will make you shake your head with awe, and fill your heart with a renewed respect for all living things in nature. With the publication of The Wild Trees, Richard Preston has added one more magical book of nonfiction to the impressive list of books he has written. This book, an exploration of the miniature world of the giant sequoia redwood trees of northern California, will imprint on your mind an indelible picture of the bounteous nature. These gentle behemoths, the largest and tallest living things on our planet, the ¿blue whales of land¿, are awe-inspiring indeed. But they are also fragile, says the author. The largest of these trees has a thirty feet wide trunk, and it is more than three hundred fifty feet tall. The author explores the world of these wild trees with the help of Steve Sillett and Marie Antoine, a couple, both of them botanists, and Michael Taylor, a son of a wealthy real estate developer, and a small group of botanists and amateur naturalists. This book will open your eyes to the grandeur of these trees. And it will show you the small world of insects, mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders and other small animals, ferns and plants and bushes such as huckleberry and even small trees, all living and thriving on the branches and trunks of these giant sequoia trees. Exploring the canopy of these wild trees is an arduous task indeed to climb a tree one must carry a heavy load of very long ropes and climbing gear. The author took lessons in climbing a tree at a tree-climbing school in Atlanta. While we can all rejoice that quite a few of these sequoias are allowed to live for now in Northern California and also a couple of other parts of our country, we should always remember that ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood trees have been felled by the logging industry. What are left, writes Richard Preston, are 'like a few fragments of stained glass from a rose window in a cathedral after the rest of the window has been smashed and swept away.' I wish to say a few words about the lovely cover of this book. At one time or another, all lovers of books have heard the refrain: Don¿t judge a book by its cover. Occasionally, however, there appears a book with a jacket so gorgeous and befitting that it not only mirrors honestly the book¿s content, but also imparts the book with a soothing shelf-appeal, just as a lovely landscape imparts a house curb-appeal. Read this book to experience the joy of reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    Anonymous

    One of my favorite books ever! These wonderful old trees are amazing. Theres a whole world unto its self up in the canope! I love this book and have reccomended it over and over.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008

    Best nonfiction I've read...

    I couldn't put down this book. The characters are real people, their explorations are amazing, and their toughts about ecology and our planet are very relevant. Read the book before the redwoods disappear. Reads like the best mystery fiction!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2007

    Amazing Book for Tree Lovers!

    I just graduated college as a landscape architect. i learned about trees 'on the east coast' and began to have a passion for them. After reading this, I want to go to the North West and experience all these humungus trees myself. The book also clarified some plant physiology I 'learned' in school. The author did a great job of getting the reader into the story as well as the beauty of untouched nature.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2007

    The trees come alive.....

    This book is a wonderful story about much more than trees. The author weaves a tale of discovery that ventures into nature and the human soul. The description of the trees and the makeup of the canopies is fascinating. The stories of the lives of those told by the author are very good as well. A very good read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    DO NOT USE FOLLOWING RESULTS!

    SwiftClan Territory; do not use.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Not the book for me

    I just can't get past the first few chapters. Hoping it gets better, but just way too descriptive and boring for me, so far. I've been reading other books, in between, to break the monotony. Sorry!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2011

    Great book

    Good,,,
    You will want to climb after you finish reading

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Absolutely fascinating

    Richard Preston is one of THE best science writers and Wild Trees is another winner. It's obvious there's been elaborate research, proven as he writes about cutting-edge discoveries regarding the upper canopy. But it's not all science! He weaves compelling human stories throughout that keep you turning pages. This book encouraged me to make a trip to Northern California and see the redwoods for myself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2007

    who knew trees were so cool?

    this book is written extremely well. it really gives you a sense of the whole experience of climbing redwoods and other tall trees. i appreciate that the author did not leave out the cons about this sort of exploration. it is important that people know how dangerous it is. it does get alittle wordy and over technical, in the chapters the aurthor writes about himself, to a novice like me. but i think you will enjoy it.

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    Posted March 30, 2011

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    Posted December 1, 2013

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    Posted January 8, 2010

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    Posted December 17, 2010

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    Posted January 9, 2011

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    Posted June 23, 2009

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    Posted July 23, 2011

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    Posted September 23, 2010

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    Posted February 25, 2011

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    Posted September 13, 2010

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