Review – The Hidden World

Posted February 29, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Review – The Hidden World

The Hidden World: How Insects Sustain Our Life on Earth Today and Will Shape Our Lives Tomorrow

by George McGavin

Genres: Non-fiction, Science
Pages: 288
Rating: three-stars

Insects conquered the Earth long before we did and will remain here long after we're gone. They outnumber us in the billions and are essential to many of the natural processes that keep us alive and that we take for granted. Yet, despite this, very few of us know much about the hidden world of insects.

In this fascinating new book, entomologist and broadcaster George McGavin takes a deep dive to reveal the unknown truths about the most successful and enduring animal group the world has ever seen, and to show the unseen effects this vast population has on our planet, if only we care to look.

McGavin explores not only the incredible traits that insects have evolved to possess, such as dragonflies that can fly across oceans without resting or beetles that lay their eggs exclusively in corpses, but also the vital lessons we have learnt from them, including how therapy using maggots can save lives and how bees can help grow rich tomato yields.

The Hidden World reveals the wonderful complexity of our relationship with insects, how they have changed the course of our history and how, if we continue to learn from them, they could even be the key to our future and survival.

George McGavin’s The Hidden World comes across as a bit of a grab-bag of random thoughts about insects, particularly given the random insertion of interviews with various naturalists and entomologists mid-chapter. Each one does go some way toward illustrating the point of the chapter, but it still breaks up the flow and makes things feel a bit disorganised.

For all that McGavin is clearly enthusiastic about insects, and dying to share all kinds of facts and figures about them… there wasn’t a lot new for me here. It’s more of a primer for people who aren’t already interested in insects (which generally I wouldn’t say I am, but I have read several other popular science books and studied a degree of medical entomology — so, of necessity, I probably know more than the average person).

So as always it’s enjoyable to read something by a person who is enthusiastic about their subject, but I wasn’t blown away by it.

Rating: 3/5

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2 responses to “Review – The Hidden World

    • Yeah, I think that might be really where it shines! Despite insects not really being my thing (at all), I’ve ended up knowing quite a bit about them…

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