The Tree (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Colin Tudge is a multiple award-winning science writer whose previous books have covered the interrelated topics of global ecology, ethology, agriculture, and food and famine. The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter, with its popular science appeal, suggests a more narrow focus, but again Tudge brings his encyclopedic knowledge to demonstrate that the lives and deaths of trees affect every part of planet Earth, from polar caps to living creatures, and in turn are affected by them.
This large volume is separated into four parts: “What Is a Tree?” (Tudge humorously defines it in many places as a big plant with a stick up the middle), “All the Trees in the World,” “The Life of Trees,” and “Trees and Us.” The second part is by far the largest and can serve as an encyclopedia, arranged taxonomically rather than alphabetically. Here, Tudge provides phylogenetic facts, vivid delineations of appearance and flowers often accompanied by black-and-white sketches by artist Dawn Burford, habitats, behaviors, predators, and uses by humans, from commerce to pharmaceuticals to mythology, along with many other details.
Readers who are unfamiliar with trees will find intriguing information provided in a chatty, often witty tone. For example, they may not know that hundreds of apple varieties available at the supermarket are clones: Each was taken from a cutting of a cutting of a cutting going...
(The entire section is 1741 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2007)
Booklist 103, no. 1 (September 1, 2006): 31.
The Guardian, December 9, 2005, p. 27.
Independent, December 23, 2005, p. 18.
Kirkus Reviews 74, no. 15 (August 1, 2006): 775-776.
Library Journal 131, no. 14 (September 1, 2006): 174.
London Review of Books 27, no. 23 (December 1, 2005): 32-33.
Los Angeles Times, October 30, 2006, p. E11.
The New York Times Book Review 156 (October 15, 2006): 11.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 27 (July 10, 2006): 62.
The Spectator 300 (January 28, 2006): 46.
The Times Higher Education Supplement, April 21, 2006, p. 28.
(The entire section is 53 words.)