The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson

Into the Wild

Read The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History Online Free - Winner of the 2016 PNBA Book Award
A finalist for the 2016 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, Young Adult Science Book category

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 the humble peppercorn drove the Age of Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the Enlightenment, and cottonseed help spark the Industrial Revolution. And from the Fall of Rome to the Arab Spring, the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a Middle Eastern grass known as wheat.

In nature and in culture, seeds are fundamental—objects of beauty, evolutionary wonder, and simple fascination. How many times has a child dropped the winged pip of a maple, marveling as it spirals its way down to the ground, or relished the way a gust of wind(or a stout breath) can send a dandelion’s feathery flotilla skyward? Yet despite their importance, seeds are often seen as a commonplace, their extraordinary natural and human histories overlooked. Thanks to Thor Hanson and this stunning new book, they can be overlooked no more.

What makes The Triumph of Seeds remarkable is not just that it is informative, humane, hilarious, and even moving, just as what makes seeds remarkable is not simply their fundamental importance to life. In both cases, it is their sheer vitality and the delight that we can take in their existence—the opportunity to experience, as Hanson puts it, “the simple joy of seeing something beautiful, doing what it is meant to do.” Spanning the globe from the Raccoon Shack—Hanson’s backyard writing hideout-cum-laboratory—to the coffee shops of Seattle, from gardens and flower patches to the spice routes of Kerala, 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 worthy heir to the grand tradition of Aldo Leopold and Bernd Heinrich, The Triumph of Seeds takes us on a fascinating scientific adventure through the wild and beautiful world of seeds. It is essential reading for anyone who loves to see a plant grow.

Title : The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0465055990
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 pages


Melissa rated it ★★★★☆

February 08, 2015

This is a nice overview of the importance of seeds throughout history and around the world. The best part about this book is that it never gets too bogged down in scientific lingo- thus someone (like me) with very little knowledge on seeds can not only understand everything the author is saying,...

Jeanette rated it ★★★★☆

February 28, 2017

Excellent in tone and in open-mindedness. Superlative in scientific description! This first half might be more depth into plant and seed evolution than the common reader for fauna might respond to/with- but oh yes, stick with it. There is much more beyond the coal fields' evidence in this wonderfu...

Megz rated it ★★★★☆

March 27, 2015

I love micro-histories – books that delve into the history and specifics of one small specific thing. One of my favourites is The Big Necessity by Rose George, about human waste (and the toilet). Just for balance, my least favourite is Stiff by Mary Roach. The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, K...

Nicole rated it ★★★★☆

December 28, 2015

A really enjoyable and educational microhistory about seeds that I picked up at the library based on the cover. I'm glad I did! The author did an excellent job of presenting scientific information in ways that are enriching and educational. The science is there, but a PhD is not necessary to pars...

Atila rated it ★★★★★

October 09, 2016

Gostei muito. Bem humorado, bem explicado e com curiosidades intrigantes. Hanson também é autor do Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle, que segue a mesma linha (e também gostei). Me lembrou de como boa parte do que comemos (pelo menos de origem vegetal) são sementes, como até um doce de...

Tuck rated it ★★★★☆

February 03, 2016

spanning globe, and time (pre-pre-history to gmo) hansen tells readers about seeds and how their evolution uniquely exploited life on earth to fill most every niche, and too, humans' and all other critters' reliance and uses of seed (tobacco, cotton, mango, chili....) with fast, super (over?) inf...

Bria rated it ★★★☆☆

February 14, 2017

The only two things I could possibly complain about are not even complaints about this book, but just about pop sci in general: 1. Not in depth enough. I need to stop expecting pop science books to substitute for university courses. I appreciate why authors move details to notes and list reference...

Mandy rated it ★★★★☆

February 11, 2017

4.5* Very well written story of seeds, easy to read even for the non-horticulturist and full of interesting facts and anecdotes

Scot rated it ★★★★★

June 05, 2017

My wife often makes fun of me when she sees the titles of books I read. Such was the case with this book. And, in her defense, a younger version of me would have rather stabbed himself in the neck rather than pick up a book with this title. But, good gravy, this was one of the most fascinating boo...

Daphne rated it ★★★★★

March 28, 2016

A really well done pop-sci nature book. Each chapter done well, and had lots of interesting information each page. It had the perfect amount (for me at least) of personal interjections and experiences within the science writing. He didn't make the book about himself, but he put himself into it ju...

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