Andrea Wulf - The Invention of Nature - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781848549005
    • Publication date:24 Mar 2016
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    • Publication date:22 Oct 2015

The Invention of Nature

The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science: Costa & Royal Society Prize Winner

By Andrea Wulf
Read by David Drummond

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Before Longitude no one remembered John Harrison. The Invention of Nature does the same for Alexander von Humboldt
Biographical Notes

Andrea Wulf was born in India, moved to Germany as a child, and now lives in England. She is the author of several acclaimed books. The Brother Gardeners won the American Horticultural Society Book Award and was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Her book Founding Gardeners was on the New York Times bestseller list. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, LA Times and New York Times. She was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013 and a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. She appears regularly on TV and radio.

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  • ISBN: 9781473637184
  • Publication date: 17 Nov 2015
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: John Murray
A big, magnificent, adventurous book - so vividly written and daringly researched - a geographical pilgrimage and an intellectual epic! Brilliant, surprising, and thought-provoking . . . a major achievement — RICHARD HOLMES, author of The Age of Wonder and Coleridge
A truly wonderful book . . . Andrea Wulf has told the tale with such brio, such understanding, such depth. The physical journeyings, all around South America when it was virtually terra incognita, are as exciting as the journeys of Humboldt's mind into astronomy, literature, philosophy and every known branch of science. This is one of the most exciting intellectual biographies I have ever read, up there with Lewes's Goethe and Ray Monk's Wittgenstein — A N Wilson
Andrea Wulf's marvellous book should put this captivating eighteenth century German scientist, traveller and opinion-shaper back at the heart of the way we look at the world . . . irresistible and consistently absorbing life of a man whose discoveries have shaped the way we see — MIRANDA SEYMOUR, author of Noble Endeavours: A History of England and Germany
Andrea Wulf is a writer of rare sensibilities and passionate fascinations. I always trust her to take me on unforgettable journeys through amazing histories of botanical exploration and scientific unfolding. Her work is wonderful, her language sublime, her intelligence unflagging — ELIZABETH GILBERT, author of The Signature of All Things and Eat, Pray, Love
Engrossing . . . Wulf successfully combines biography with an intoxicating history of his times — Kirkus
Extraordinary, and often still sadly relevant too — Wanderlust
The phrase 'lost hero of science' in the subtitle of [Wulf's] book is no exaggeration . . . A big book about a big subject, written with scholarship and enthusiasm — Irish Examiner
In her coruscating account, historian Andrea Wulf reveals an indefatigable adept of close observation with a gift for the long view — Nature
[A] gripping study . . . No one who reads this brilliant book is likely to forget Humboldt — New Scientist
This book sets out to restore Humboldt to his rightful place in the pantheon of natural scientists. In the process Wulf does a great deal more. This meticulously researched work - part biography, part cabinet of curiosity - takes us on an exhilarating armchair voyage through some of the world's least hospitable regions — Giles Milton, Mail on Sunday
Thrilling . . . It is impossible to read The Invention of Nature without contracting Humboldt fever. Wulf makes Humboldtians of us all . . . At times The Invention of Nature reads like pulp explorer fiction . . . She has gone to near-Humboldtian lengths to research her book — New York Review of Books
Engrossing . . . Andrea Wulf magnificently recreates Humboldt's dazzling, complex personality and the scope of his writing — Wall Street Journal
A rollicking adventure story . . . a fascinating history of ideas, in which Wulf leads us expertly along a series of colourful threads that emanate from the great tapestry of Humboldt's life and work . . . What really fascinated me about The Invention of Nature is how relevant Humboldt's ideas are today . . . Arriving in South America, Darwin took his first steps in the tropical forest and exclaimed: "I formerly admired Humboldt, I now almost adore him". Readers of Wulf's marvellous new book may feel the same way — Financial Times
Wulf's telling of his life reads like a Who's Who of his age . . . in its mission to rescue Humboldt's reputation from the crevasse he and many other German writers and scientists fell into after the Second World War, it succeeds — Independent on Sunday
Wulf's biography is a magnificent work of resurrection, beautifully researched, elegantly written, a thrilling intellectual odyssey — Sunday Times
Wulf's brilliant biography traces [Humboldt's] daring travels in South America and across the Andes, his sojourns in Berlin, Paris and London, and the intellectual circles he moved in — Sunday Express
Andrea Wulf is clearly as passionate about this remarkable man as his peers and successors were, and she does an impressive job of capturing the scale and scope of Humboldt's substantial achievements — Press Association
In a superb biography, Andrea Wulf makes an inspired case for Alexander von Humboldt to be considered the greatest scientist of the 19th century . . . Ecologists today, Ms Wulf argues, are Humboldtians at heart. With the immense challenge of grasping the global consequences of climate change, Humboldt's interdisciplinary approach is more relevant than ever — The Economist
We all know who Darwin was because he came up with that memorable line about us all being descended from apes, but, as he himself would readily have admitted, the great man would never have arrived at his great theory had it not been for the very considerable influence of Alexander von Humboldt . . . Given the magnitude of his influence, why Humboldt isn't a household name today is a mystery . . . On the evidence of this wonderful book, however, he should be hastily added to every school syllabus in the land — Scotsman
Darwin pronounced him the greatest scientific traveller who ever lived, but the brilliant German Alexander von Humboldt left no groundbreaking theory or world-changing book. Wulf sets out to restore his diminished reputation, and has given us the most complete portrait of one of the world's most complete naturalists — Mark Cocker, The Spectator, Books of the Year
Wulf's narrative relates Humboldt's life and ideas at a good pace and with a strong eye for the details which will attract the reader's attention — TLS
Wulf imbues Humboldt's adventures there with something of the spirit of Tintin, relishing the jungles, mountains and dangerous animals at every turn . . . [she] has an unfailing ability to spot an interesting quotation or a curious situation. She is very good on the cities where Humboldt lived and the rival atmospheres of Paris and Berlin . . . a superior celebration of an adorable figure — Guardian
This ambitious book restores Humboldt to his rightful place in the pantheon of scientific history. The best chapters describe his exciting travels — Lady
Humboldt's vision became the inspiration for Darwin and a whole generation of American Romantics, including Thoreau and Poe. Humboldt, like Einstein, breathed life into Kant's transcendental unity. We still live in the world they imagined, even if few of us comprehend it — Telegraph
Wulf writes about complicated topics with lucidity and vitality. The Invention of Nature is a book of ideas, which repays careful reading. The intuitive yet systematising genius, courage and charm of Humboldt also make this a most inspiring book — The Times
Andrea Wulf's superb biography is a re-evaluation of a great lost scientist whose thinking strongly affected the way we now conceptualise nature . . . His extensive travels mean his biography is also an adventure story, and Wulf combines scrapes and the science to great effect — Independent
Read Andrea Wulf's gripping biography and you will be wowed by him too. If Humboldt doesn't win prizes I'll eat my party hat — New Scientist, Books of the Year
An absolutely stupendous biography — A.N. Wilson, Evening Standard, Books of the Year
Evocative descriptions of his expeditions . . . delightful stories . . . Wulf's stories of wilderness adventure and academic exchange flow easily, and her affection for von Humboldt is contagious — Publishers Weekly, Books of the Year
Wulf offers a highly readable account of the German scientist's monumental journey in the Americas — 100 Notable Books of 2015, New York Times
Engaging and accomplished — Sunday Times
Explorer, polymath, friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Jefferson and Simon Bolívar, Alexander von Humboldt was one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. His ideas are as relevant today as they ever were — The Economist, Books of the Year
The real achievement of this wonderful biography is that it is as much a rattling good read as it is an explicit attempt to revive Humboldt's reputation . . . [Wulf] offers us the most complete picture of one of most complete naturalists who has ever lived — New Statesman
Stimulating biography . . . The Invention of Nature elegantly captures a cosmopolitan who straddled the Enlightenment and Romanticism — Country Life
Colourful and engaging — Sunday Telegraph
Explorer, polymath, friend of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Jefferson and Simon Bolívar, Alexander von Humboldt was one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. His ideas are as relevant today as they ever were — The Economist
Like Humboldt himself, The Invention of Nature, is scholarly but extremely good fun — The Times, Books of the Year
Wulf does [Humbolt] full justice, bringing his extraordinary and colourful life to a new generation. Based on enormous research, it is the first real biography of this great figure in English and it provides much fascinating detail without overloading the narrative. I can't recommend it highly enough — Morning Star
Wulf takes English speaking readers on a fulsome tour of Humboldt and those he influenced . . . She has travelled in Humboldt's footsteps and made good use of original German evidence. I have much enjoyed my eco-tour through the planet world in her company — Financial Times
In this illuminating, vivid biography, historian and writer Andrea Wulf reveals a great explorer a century or more ahead of his time . . . a cracking read — BBC Wildlife Magazine
A pleasure to read . . . Buckle up and prepare yourself for Andrea Wulf's hugely enjoyable voyage of discovery . . . [a] rip-roaring yarn — Ecologist
Full of vivid renditions of his feats, the narrow mountain paths he trod, the rapid rivers in which he almost drowned, and the exotic ailments from which he suffered . . . much more than an adventure story . . . well-informed and astute . . . among the most attractive features of The Invention of Nature is Wulf's infectious admiration for her subject — London Review of Books
Masterly — Daily Mail
A superior celebration of an adorable figure — Guardian
The decisive factor for the winning book was that it excited and gripped us as judges the most. The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf is a thrilling adventure story as much as a science book about a polymath who had an extraordinary impact on our contemporary understanding of nature. It is a book you will find yourself talking endlessly about with friends in the pub — Bill Bryson, chairman of the judges for the Royal Society Prize 2016
Humboldt may not be well known today but he remains very much of our time: his work tackled many of today's big issues like climate change and biodiversity loss and the interconnectedness of nature. Moreover, he was a polymath who was curious about everything and was a superb communicator. His interdisciplinary approach puts paid to the ridiculous notion that science and the arts are separate entities. We should be taking our cues from Humboldt - be curious and be informed by science on the big issues — Brian Cox
When I read The Invention of Nature, long before it was nominated for the Royal Society prize, it was obvious that it was a contender for major honors. It was deeply researched and reported; it told a fine and little known story; it connected the personal to a big idea, and the past to a very pressing present-day concern — The Atlantic
Concise, well-written and extensively researched book . . . vivid, atmospheric and engrossing, a beautiful portrait — Tribune
[A] gripping account of Alexander von Humboldt's synthesis of the science of the natural world — Stephen Curry, Guardian 'Favourite reads of 2016 as chosen by scientists'
In this meticulously researched and beautifully written biography, Andrea Wulf skilfully rescues Alexander von Humboldt from his undeserved obscurity as she chronicles his long and fascinating life — Forbes.com, 10 Best Popular Science Books of 2016
Deep scholarship and entertaining writing style. The Invention of Nature is highly recommended — ICON
Historians of science have long recognized the naturalist and traveller Alexander von Humboldt as a pivotal figure in the history of science, but for too long he has been undervalued in the English-speaking world. This beautifully written biography effectively conveys his significance to a wide audience, in an animated and adventurous narrative that echoes the liveliness of Humboldt's own writings. The award of the Dingle Prize particularly recognizes Andrea Wulf's mastery of the vast range of history of science scholarship on Humboldt and her command of original sources in multiple languages. Timely and significant-particularly given current attacks on climate change science - this is scientific biography at its best — Winner of the 2017 Dingle Prize
John Murray

On This Day in History

Dan Snow
Authors:
Dan Snow

On which day was history's shortest war waged and won (in roughly 40 minutes)? How was Napoleon bested by a group of rabbits in 1807? Why did a dispute about beer in an Oxford pub lead to over 100 deaths and 470 years of penance? Why in 1752 did Britain go to bed on 2nd September and wake up on the 14th? How did a women's march in 1917 set off the Russian Revolution?On This Day in History brings to life a key event that happened on each day of the year.From the most important British battle that you've never heard of (20 May 685) to the first meeting of Lennon and McCartney (6 July 1957), and from why Julius Caesar should have been wary of the Ides of March (15 March 44BC) to the day Jeanne de Clisson became a pirate and single-handedly declared war on the King of France (2 August 1343), history is full of unlikely heroes and fascinating turning points.In this book Dan Snow shows us how each day offers a different and unexpected insight into our past. And story by gripping story, this year grows into a vivid, very human history of the world.

Hodder & Stoughton

Rise and Fall

Paul Strathern
Authors:
Paul Strathern

From the Akkadian Empire to modern-day America, Rise and Fall charts the history of the world through its ten greatest empires. Through these we examine humanity's will to power in forms both infamous and poorly understood, and trace the evolution of the imperial impulse as it moves from the blunt military aggression of the ancient empires to the subtle but far-reaching cultural influence of today's superpowers.We encounter empires in all their contradictions - like the Mongol Empire, the largest land empire the world has ever seen, and yet also the most short-lived. Rise and Fall also reveals striking, often completely unrelated historical parallels: pyramids found not just in Egypt but also in Babylon, Mexico and China; unmistakable echoes of the infant discovered in a basket myth which occur in the Old Testament, the Akkadian origin myth, as well in Hinduism. Above all, we see how the ambition of imperial greatness everywhere - from the Roman emperors to Hitler - is rooted in dreams of utopia and immortality.Every empire contains the seeds of its own destruction: so what precisely is social progress? Who benefits from it, and who suffers? Rise and Fall reminds us that the progress of humankind takes many forms, and that - perhaps - the systems we take for granted today are far from being the only or inevitable course of future civilisation.

John Murray

The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt

Andrea Wulf, Lilian Melcher
Authors:
Andrea Wulf, Lilian Melcher

Meet Alexander von Humboldt: the great lost scientist, visionary, thinker and daring explorer; the man who first predicted climate change, who has more things named after him than anyone else (including a sea on the moon), and who has inspired generations of writers, thinkers and revolutionaries . . . In The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, 88-year-old Humboldt takes us on a fantastic voyage, back through his life, tracing his footsteps around the rainforests, mountains and crocodile-infested rivers of South America when he was a young man. Travel with him to Venezuela, to Lake Valencia, the Llanos and the Orinocco, and follow him during his time in Cuba, Cartagena, Bogota and his one-year trek across the Andes, as he climbs the volcano Chimborazo, explores Inca monuments, and visits Washington D.C. to meet Thomas Jefferson and campaign for the abolition of slavery. With encounters with indigenous peoples, missionaries, colonists and jaguars, and incorporating Humboldt's own sketches, drawings and manuscripts, this is a thrilling adventure story of history's most daring scientist.

John Murray

Under the Knife

Arnold van de Laar
Authors:
Arnold van de Laar

'This is history with a surgeon's touch: deft, incisive and sometimes excruciatingly bloody' The Sunday Times'Utterly eccentric and riveting' Mail on Sunday 'Eye-opening and, frequently, eye-watering . . . a book that invites readers to peer up the bottoms of kings, into the souls of rock stars and down the ear canals of astronauts' The Daily TelegraphHow did a decision made in the operating theatre spark hundreds of conspiracy theories about JFK? How did a backstage joke prove fatal to world-famous escape artist Harry Houdini? How did Queen Victoria change the course of surgical history?Through dark centuries of bloodletting and of amputations without anaesthetic to today's sterile, high-tech operating theatres, surgeon Arnold van de Laar uses his experience and expertise to tell an incisive history of the past, present and future of surgery.From the dark centuries of bloodletting and of amputations without anaesthetic to today's sterile, high-tech operating theatres, Under the Knife is both a rich cultural history, and a modern anatomy class for us all.

John Murray

Love from Boy

Donald Sturrock
Authors:
Donald Sturrock

'Dear Mama, I am having a lovely time here. We play football every day here. The beds have no springs . . .'So begins the first letter that a nine-year-old Roald Dahl penned to his mother, Sofie Magdalene, under the watchful eye of his boarding-school headmaster. For most of his life, Roald Dahl would continue to write weekly letters to his mother, chronicling his adventures, frustrations and opinions, from the delights of childhood to the excitements of flying as a World War II fighter pilot and the thrill of meeting top politicians and movie stars during his time as a diplomat and spy in Washington. And, unbeknown to Roald, his mother lovingly kept every single one of them.Sofie was, in many ways, Roald's first reader. It was she who encouraged him to tell stories and nourished his desire to fabricate, exaggerate and entertain. Reading these letters, you can see Roald practicing his craft, developing the dark sense of humour and fantastical imagination that would later produce such timeless tales as The BFG, Matilda, Fantastic Mr Fox and The Witches.The letters in Love from Boy are littered with jokes and madcap observations; sometimes serious, sometimes tender, and often outrageous. To eavesdrop on a son's letters to his mother is to witness Roald Dahl turning from a boy to a man, and finally becoming a writer.Praise for Storyteller'A truly magnificent biography . . . a masterly account' A N Wilson'Superb . . . hugely readable' Sunday Telegraph(P)2016 John Murray PressLetters by Roald Dahl © 2016 Roald Dahl Nominee Ltd. Introduction, essays, selection and compilation copyright © 2016 Donald Sturrock.

John Murray

Fascinating Footnotes From History

Giles Milton
Authors:
Giles Milton

'Giles Milton is a man who can take an event from history and make it come alive . . . an inspiration for those of us who believe that history can be exciting and entertaining' Matthew Redhead, The TimesDid you know that Hitler took cocaine? That Stalin robbed a bank? That Charlie Chaplin's corpse was filched and held to ransom? Giles Milton is a master of historical narrative: in his characteristically engaging prose, Fascinating Footnotes From History details one hundred of the quirkiest historical nuggets; eye-stretching stories that read like fiction but are one hundred per cent fact.There is Hiroo Onoda, the lone Japanese soldier still fighting the Second World War in 1974; Agatha Christie, who mysteriously disappeared for eleven days in 1926; and Werner Franz, a cabin boy on the Hindenburg who lived to tell the tale when it was engulfed in flames in 1937. Fascinating Footnotes From History also answers who ate the last dodo, who really killed Rasputin and why Sergeant Stubby had four legs. Peopled with a gallery of spies, rogues, cannibals, adventurers and slaves, and spanning twenty centuries and six continents, Giles Milton's impeccably researched footnotes shed light on some of the most infamous stories and most flamboyant and colourful characters (and animals) from history.(Previoulsy published in four individual epub volumes: When Hitler Took Cocaine, When Stalin Robbed a Bank, When Lenin Lost His Brain and When Churchill Slaughtered Sheep.)

Coronet

Magicians of the Gods

Graham Hancock
Authors:
Graham Hancock
Hodder & Stoughton

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Becky Chambers
Authors:
Becky Chambers
Yellow Kite

Sane

Emma Young
Authors:
Emma Young

Emma Young has no history of mental illness, just like everyone else, occasionally she gets down, anxious and disproportionately stressed. Disappointed that her mind does not always deal well with the pressures of modern life, Emma decided to go on mind-toning journey.Is it possible to tone your mind just as you can tone your body so it becomes more resilient and better prepared to deal with what life throws at you?By looking at some of the new and tried and tested techniques, from meditation to mental preparation involved in extreme sports and military training, Emma has devised a programme that will help everyone achieve mental stability.

Hodder & Stoughton

Magna Carta

David Starkey
Authors:
David Starkey
Sceptre

Becoming Steve Jobs

Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli
Authors:
Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli

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John Murray

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Kabir Sehgal
Authors:
Kabir Sehgal

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Hodder & Stoughton

Calling The Horses

Peter O'Sullevan
Authors:
Peter O'Sullevan

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Hodder & Stoughton

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Eric Carter, Anthony Loveless
Authors:
Eric Carter, Anthony Loveless
Hodder Paperbacks

The Great Escaper

Simon Pearson
Authors:
Simon Pearson

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Hodder Paperbacks

Gardens of Stone: My Boyhood in the French Resistance

Stephen Grady, Michael Wright
Authors:
Stephen Grady, Michael Wright

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Coronet

The Science Delusion

Rupert Sheldrake
Authors:
Rupert Sheldrake

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Hodder & Stoughton

Survivor: Auschwitz, the Death March and my fight for freedom

Sam Pivnik
Authors:
Sam Pivnik
Hodder & Stoughton

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz

Denis Avey, Rob Broomby
Authors:
Denis Avey, Rob Broomby

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Hodder Paperbacks

So Me

Graham Norton
Authors:
Graham Norton