The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson
"The genius of Hanson's fascinating, inspiring, and entertaining book stems from the fact that it is not about how all kinds of things grow from seeds; it is about the seeds themselves." Mark Kurlansky, New York Times Book Review
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.
Thor Hanson is a conservation biologist, Guggenheim Fellow, Switzer Environmental Fellow, and winner of the John Burrough Medal for excellence in nature writing and natural history. The author of Feathers and The Impenetrable Forest, Hanson lives with his wife and son on an island in Washington State.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Fierce Energy
Seeds Nourish 1. Seed for a Day 2. The Staff of Life 3. Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut
Seeds Unite 4. What the Spike Moss Knows 5. Mendel’s Spores
Seeds Endure 6. Methuselah 7. Take It to the Bank
Seeds Defend 8. By Tooth, Beak, and Gnaw 9. The Riches of Taste 10 The Cheeriest Beans 11. Death by Umbrella
Seeds Travel 12. Irresistible Flesh 13. By Wind and Wave
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