Around the World in 80 TreesHistory, Non-fiction, Science
In Around the World in 80 Trees, Jonathan Drori uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable. From the trees of Britain, to India's sacred banyan tree, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration - not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup.
Stops on the trip include the lime trees of Berlin's Unter den Linden boulevard, which intoxicate amorous Germans and hungry bees alike, the swankiest streets in nineteenth-century London, which were paved with Australian eucalyptus wood, and the redwood forests of California, where the secret to the trees' soaring heights can be found in the properties of the tiniest drops of water.
Each of these strange and true tales -- populated by self-mummifying monks, tree-climbing goats and ever-so-slightly radioactive nuts -- is illustrated by Lucille Clerc, taking the reader on a journey that is as informative as it is beautiful. The book combines history, science and a wealth of quirky detail - there should be surprises for everyone.
Like Around the World in 80 Plants, this is beautifully illustrated by Lucille Clerc, in much the same style: sometimes the images show details of the trees, sometimes a more zoomed out look, and sometimes the pictures include images that illustrate the text directly to show how the trees are used or handled.
If anything, the text seemed livelier in this book than in the other — like, perhaps, the author is just a bit more enthusiastic about trees than general plants. I certainly flew through the book, and found a couple of new-to-me facts that I was eager to tell other people. (Like the stuff about avocado trees!)
If there’s a plant-lover in your life, it’d make a wonderful gift, and there’s also plenty of titbits to pique the interest of anyone who likes this sort of history-through-a-specific-type-of-object (like myself), or just enjoys learning about all kinds of things (also me).