Andrea Wulf - The Invention of Nature - Hodder & Stoughton

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Hardback £25.00
    More information
    • ISBN:9781848548985
    • Publication date:22 Oct 2015
  • Downloadable audio file £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781473637184
    • Publication date:17 Nov 2015

The Invention of Nature

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

By Andrea Wulf

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

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

WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD

WINNER OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2016

'A thrilling adventure story' Bill Bryson

'Dazzling' Literary Review

'Brilliant' Sunday Express

'Extraordinary and gripping' New Scientist

'A superb biography' The Economist

'An exhilarating armchair voyage' GILES MILTON, Mail on Sunday

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist - more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.

His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'.

Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps - racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles - Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and The Invention of Nature traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it's only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.

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.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781848548992
  • Publication date: 22 Oct 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

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

Born Lippy

Jo Brand
Authors:
Jo Brand

Sometimes it's hard to be a woman and sometimes it's time to be a hard woman . . . This is a book for all those times.Once upon a (very very) long time ago Jo Brand was what you might describe as 'a nice little girl'. Of course, that was before the values of cynicism, misogyny and the societal expectation that Jo would be thin, feminine and demure sent her off down Arsey Avenue. The plot thickened, when due to a complicated fusion of hormones, horrible family dynamics and a no-good boyfriend they hated, Jo ended up leaving home at 16. Now she's considerably further along life's inevitable bloody 'journey' - and she's fucked up enough times to feel confident she has no wisdom to offer anyone. But who cares? She's going to do it anyway...Born Lippy is a gathering of all the things Jo Brand wishes she'd known, all the things she's learnt, and all the things she hopes for the future. A century after women got the vote (albeit married women over the age of 28) it's time to take stock of exactly what it means to be female today. And if there's one thing women are entitled to, it's having a bloody good moan about things big and small - so here goes . . .HOW TO MANAGE A BULLY * YOUR FAMILY AND HOW TO SURVIVE IT * WHAT NO-ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT THE FEMALE BODY * BEING DIFFERENT * SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT SOCIABLE * HOW NOT TO FALL IN LOVE * FEMINISM: A RE-BRANDING * ADVENTURES IN YOUR HEAD * HAVING FUN * NOT HAVING FUN: WHAT TO DO WHEN IT ALL GOES WRONG * STAYING SANE * YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU WEAR * MODERN MANNERS* HOW TO DO WHAT YOU WANT: OR NOT DO WHAT OTHERS WANT * BEING HEALTHY * GETTING ON A BIT * THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES: MORE DEADLY THAN THE MALE?

John Murray

Brief Answers to the Big Questions

Stephen Hawking
Authors:
Stephen Hawking

Sceptre

The Consolations of Physics

Tim Radford
Authors:
Tim Radford
Hodder & Stoughton

100 Nasty Women of History

Hannah Jewell
Authors:
Hannah Jewell
Hodder & Stoughton

Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing

Daniel Tammet
Authors:
Daniel Tammet
John Murray

Does Anything Eat Wasps

Coronet

Magicians of the Gods

Graham Hancock
Authors:
Graham Hancock
Two Roads

The End of Your Life Book Club

Will Schwalbe
Authors:
Will Schwalbe
Hodder Paperbacks

Bound to You

Nichi Hodgson
Authors:
Nichi Hodgson
Coronet

A Hell for Heroes

Theo Knell
Authors:
Theo Knell

Theodore Knell went through hell in the SAS - but his biggest battle began when he left. A Hell for Heroes is a searingly honest autobiography about what life in the military service is really like. This is my life story and the story of my time in the SAS. I hope that any soldier who reads it will find some sort of connection with their own. I have tried to share my experiences honestly, and as such all of the incidents portrayed within this book are true, some so dark and painful that I often questioned whether I wanted to remain part of the human race.I hope it will provide you an insight into the life and mind of a soldier - what makes us the way we are, what drives us on when other men would fold, what binds us together like no other brotherhood on earth, what makes us laugh and what scares us shitless.Watching men die violently for the first time is not something I would wish on any young man. Yes, many who have not served will say 'It will make a man out of you son'. but what do they know? In reality it will destroy far more men than it makes, leaving many dead or crippled for life, some with wounds you can see, but far more with wounds which you cannot.

Coronet

They Also Serve

Tom Quinn
Authors:
Tom Quinn

Coronet

What Am I Still Doing Here?

Roger Lewis
Authors:
Roger Lewis
Coronet

Hope Street

Pamela Young
Authors:
Pamela Young
Coronet

The Science Delusion

Rupert Sheldrake
Authors:
Rupert Sheldrake
Hodder & Stoughton

Lewis Moody: Mad Dog - An Englishman

Lewis Moody
Authors:
Lewis Moody

Lewis 'Mad Dog' Moody has been a familiar face in English rugby for fifteen successful and, at times, painful years. The former Leicester and now Bath flanker has seen and done it all in a sport that has changed beyond recognition from his first forays into the sport to the huge spectacle that rugby, and especially test match rugby, has become. Known for his near-suicidal fashion of playing the game, Moody has achieved as much as anyone in the history of the sport, from league, cup and European honours with an iconic Leicester Tigers team alongside the likes of Martin Johnson and Neil Back, to a 2003 World Cup winners medal and an MBE when still a young man. A great deal of heartbreak would follow - pain, illness, self-doubt and dark days in the four years before the next World Cup campaign that saw Moody and England fall in the 2007 final but he re-emerged to finally captain his country to a third World Cup campaign in 2011. Mad Dog - An Englishman is the story, warts and all, of one of the most-loved and respected British sporting figures; a story that allows the reader into the inner sanctum of a top rugby star's life, from the early days of student and rugby dressing room mayhem, to the latter years of dedication to the cause, and utter professionalism against all odds. You may think some of Lewis Moody's adventures are well-known. You would be wrong. In this searingly honest autobiography the original 'Mad Dog' lays himself bare and, along the way, takes you on an incredible journey that will make you laugh, cry and understand what it takes to construct a career as successful as Lewis Moody's.

Coronet

The Maid's Tale

Tom Quinn, Rose Plummer
Authors:
Tom Quinn, Rose Plummer
Hodder & Stoughton

David Weir: Extra Time - My Autobiography

David Weir
Authors:
David Weir

David Weir's career is a tale of triumph on the pitch but also of victory over the assumption all top-level footballers are finished in their mid-30s. Weir, who turned 41 in May 2011, is the oldest outfield player to represent Rangers since 1945, passing the mark set by their famous full-back, Jock 'Tiger' Shaw. In this revealing autobiography, Weir gives an insight into the high of playing in the 1998 World Cup finals for his country to the low of the chaotic 2-2 draw in the Faroes four years later which led to his decision to stop playing for Scotland. For the first time, he gives his side of the story. How he felt Berti Vogts, Scotland's boss, used him as a scapegoat. Many felt Weir's international career would end on that sour note and that his club career was approaching its conclusion, too. He was 32 and David Moyes, his manager at Everton, made no secret he was on the lookout for new, younger defenders. Like thousands of footballers before him, Weir could just have accepted his time was up. He had a young family and a father who was suffering from Alzheimer's to help care for and self-doubt gnawed at him. Could he cut it any more? Instead, he moved to Rangers in January 2007, making his debut for his childhood favourites at a mere 36 years and 236 days and has helped them to eight trophies since and a European final in 2008. Weir's is a story of battling against the odds to keep playing at the top level and proving he could, despite the doubts of others and indeed himself.

Coronet

Mummy's Boy

Larry Lamb
Authors:
Larry Lamb

Acting wasn't a long-held childhood dream for Larry Lamb, instead his childhood memories are filled with recollections of his parents continuously fighting. His mother and father were totally mismatched, the only thing they shared in common was their children and life in the Lamb household veered from laughter and happy moments to hysterical outbursts and terrifying episodes. Larry, the eldest of three children was only too often caught in the middle and found himself at the centre of his father's raging anger, tormented by a man who struggled with the enormity of fatherhood. When his parents' marriage finally broke down, Larry's mother moved out along with her baby daughter and as they grew up, Larry and his brother, Wesley, lived with their father, seeing their mother and sister only in rushed meetings at bus stops and in public parks. For years Larry didn't know where his mum lived and he didn't dare talk of her at home, his mother's presence left a gaping hole. As soon as Larry was old enough, he left home. Putting as much distance as he could between himself and his volatile childhood, he set off on a journey that would take him to work as an encyclopaedia salesman in Germany, in the oil business in Libya and Nova Scotia until he found himself starring on Broadway. In time it would take him to Hollywood too and bring him leading roles on the Square in Eastenders and in Billericay in the much-loved comedy Gavin and Stacey.Along the way Larry wasn't just trying to make his own way in the world, he was seeking the close female companionship he'd missed out on with his mother too. After a series of relationships, he found himself back in England and father to George. Facing fatherhood was a pivotal moment, so easily he could have fallen into the ways of his own father but whilst his marriage to George's mother didn't last, he couldn't let the same mistakes be repeated again and he vowed to have the relationship with his son that he'd never been able to have with his father. Mummy's Boy is by turns heartrending as Larry recalls the relationship broken beyond repair with his father, searingly honest as he describes the effect his childhood had in later life and hugely entertaining as he tells captivating tales of making it as an actor, breaking out from his little world in Essex and finding himself in a new life on stage and screen.'What a life! I loved it. Almost as good as sitting with him and listening to his stories.' Rob Brydon'A wonderful story of survival against the odds told with compassion and humour. This is so much more than a showbiz autobiography.' Anne Robinson'Mummy's Boy manages to be touching, funny and uniquely warm all at once. A must-read.'Best

Hodder & Stoughton

Parky's People

Michael Parkinson
Authors:
Michael Parkinson

A unique memoir by Sir Michael Parkinson, reflecting on 100 of the most legendary encounters by the man who has met everyone who is someone.Sir Michael Parkinson occupies a unique place in the public consciousness. For many he is the chronicler of a generation. Through his onscreen work and his intelligent, thought provking journalism, he has introduced millions of people to the major names of sport of showbiz over the past five decades. In Parky's People, Parkinson gives us an intimate insight into the lives of great celebrities from all around the world. Now an international celebrity himself, the man from a humble but colourful Yorkshire mining family who can tease out the secrets of even the most reticent star guest. Those featured include Muhammad Ali, David Attenborough, Judi Dench, David Beckham, and many, many more. Parkinson's distinguished career has involved working on highly acclaimed current affairs and film programmes. His wide interests and expertise include jazz, film, football and cricket. Witty and humourous, Parky's People makes the perfect gift.