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Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings

Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings

by Valerie Trouet


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What if the stories of trees and people are more closely linked than we ever imagined?

Winner of the World Wildlife Fund's 2020 Jan Wolkers PrizeOne of Science News's "Favorite Books of 2020" A New York Times "New and Noteworthy" BookA 2020 Woodland Book of the YearGold Winner of the 2020 Foreword INDIES Award in Ecology & EnvironmentBronze Winner of the 2021 Independent Publisher Book Award in Environment/Ecology

People across the world know that to tell how old a tree is, you count its rings. Few people, however, know that research into tree rings has also made amazing contributions to our understanding of Earth's climate history and its influences on human civilization over the past 2,000 years. In her captivating book Tree Story, Valerie Trouet reveals how the seemingly simple and relatively familiar concept of counting tree rings has inspired far-reaching scientific breakthroughs that illuminate the complex interactions between nature and people.

Trouet, a leading tree-ring scientist, takes us out into the field, from remote African villages to radioactive Russian forests, offering readers an insider's look at tree-ring research, a discipline known as dendrochronology. Tracing her own professional journey while exploring dendrochronology's history and applications, Trouet describes the basics of how tell-tale tree cores are collected and dated with ring-by-ring precision, explaining the unexpected and momentous insights we've gained from the resulting samples.

Blending popular science, travelogue, and cultural history, Tree Story highlights exciting findings of tree-ring research, including the fate of lost pirate treasure, successful strategies for surviving California wildfire, the secret to Genghis Khan's victories, the connection between Egyptian pharaohs and volcanoes, and even the role of olives in the fall of Rome. These fascinating tales are deftly woven together to show us how dendrochronology sheds light on global climate dynamics and uncovers the clear links between humans and our leafy neighbors. Trouet delights us with her dedication to the tangible appeal of studying trees, a discipline that has taken her to austere and beautiful landscapes around the globe and has enabled scientists to solve long-pondered mysteries of Earth and its human inhabitants.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421443744
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 05/03/2022
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 563,169
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.61(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Valerie Trouet is a professor in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona.

Table of Contents

1. Prologue
2. Trees in the desert
3. I count the rings down in Africa
4. Adonis, Methuselah, and Prometheus
5. And the tree was happy
6. The Messiah, The Plague, and Shipwrecks Under the City
7. The Hockey Stick Posterchild
8. Wind of Change
9. Winter is coming
10. Three tree-ring scientists walk into a bar
11. Ghosts, Orphans, and Extra terrestrials
12. Disintegration or The Fall of Rome
13. It's the end of the world as we know it
14. Once upon a time in the West
15. Will the wind ever remember?
16. After the Gold Rush
17. The Forest for the Trees
List of Tree Species
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What People are Saying About This

Dagomar Degroot

As Valerie Trouet explains in this beautifully written book, one of the best ways to understand the magnitude of today's climate crisis is to burrow into the bark of old trees. Trouet eloquently guides readers through this exciting science, revealing not only how science is done but also how scientists think, how they respond to moments of inspiration and disappointment, and how their careers may unfold in surprising ways. This book is a timely love letter to a discipline and to the academic way of life.

Neil Pederson

A witty and engaging book that brings the story of tree rings to a wider audience.

Amy Hessl

Perfect for scientifically curious readers, Tree Story is a fascinating book about a field that has made major contributions to our understanding of past societies, as well as our current climate predicament.

Erika Wise

Beautifully captures the balance between science and engaging narrative. There are no similar books that tell the exciting story of dendrochronology.

Paul J. Krusic

Extolling the virtues of dendrochronology as a laudable tool for unlocking the secrets of natural and human history, this refreshing book will interest anyone who wants to understand the meaning of their existence, the miracle of life, and the beautiful ways in which our natural history has brought humans to our current state of civilization.

Sarah Boon

Trouet is at her best when recounting field experiences or telling stories about fortuitous discoveries in the lab. Readers worldwide who enjoy popular science and its links to human history will enjoy this book.

Henry F. Diaz

Trouet does a splendid job of elucidating the connections between dendrochronology (the precise dating of tree rings to the calendar year when they were formed) and advances in climatology, hydrology, archaeology, ecology, and history. A significant contribution and overview of dendro-science writ large. Engagingly written; the scholarship is highly commendable.

Lisa J. Graumlich

For anyone who has been intrigued by the growth rings in a tree stump, this book is for you. Dr. Trouet, a renowned scholar, weaves together science and adventure as she unlocks the many secrets hidden in the hearts of trees.

Customer Reviews