My favorite nonfiction book of 2018. Sometimes a book just speaks for itself – you're going to have to come into the store and open this beauty up to see for yourself, internet friend. Filled with fascinating capsules about 80 different tree species from all over the world paired with stunning artwork by Lucille Clerc. For instance, did you know that the upas tree (yes, Upas is also a tree) has a toxic sap used for poison darts in Malaysia? (Cashews are also toxic until the seed is steamed open.) Or that our ubiquitous jacarandas are from Argentina? And that the quinine tree is the national tree of Peru & Ecuador? Well, all this knowledge and more could be yours! -seth
Trees are one of humanity's most constant and most varied companions. From India's sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup.
In Around the World in 80 Trees, expert Jonathan Drori uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable. 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.
About the Author
Lucille Clerc is a French graphic designer who moved to London following completion of her degree in Paris to study for an MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. Since then she has been working in the creative industries for a diverse range of international clients, from cultural institutions to textile designers, musicians and architects.
Jonathan Drori is a Trustee of The Woodland Trust and The Eden Project, an Ambassador for the WWF and was for nine years a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Zoological Society of London, and a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. In 2006 he was made CBE.
"Beautiful illustrations by the French artist Lucille Clerc, strewn generously throughout, have the limpid calm of vernal pools. The book's author, Jonathan Drori, whose sunny prose sparkles with authority, grew up near the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where he later served as a trustee. His childhood passion for plants branched into a study of the ways humans and trees interact. Drori and Clerc's book abounds with discoveries." -The New York Times Book Review
`This is the perfect tree book, with beautiful illustrations. A must for any tree lover, professional or amateur, who wants to learn more about 80 inspirational trees from around the world'. Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum at Kew
`Nature writing at its best, skillfully weaving science with fascinating folklore and the sheer wonder of trees'. Professor Sir Charles Godfray CBE FRS
`In this delightful and beautifully illustrated book Jonathan provides a collection of fascinating biographies of some of the world's most extraordinary trees. [...] This is a personal narrative; Jonathan's love for trees, and his sense of wonder at the diversity of the natural world, shines through on every page'. Richard Deverell, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
`I have loved trees all my life. It's fascinating to learn how, across the world, they have inspired people in much the same way, and to understand the key role they play, not just in our lives, but life as a whole'. Dame Judi Dench
`Full of new ideas and wonderful stories about the trees that helped shape us, I really loved this entertaining and erudite world journey'. Beccy Speight, Chief Executive, The Woodland Trust
`Botanical science, culture and the history of exploration all come together in this journey around the world through many of the most important trees that influence the customs and economy of each country. I would have found it hard to make a better selection of trees that are influential and important to the culture of the many countries [in this] most engaging trip around the world'. Professor Sir Ghillean Prance FRS, VMH, Former Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
`Around the World in 80 Trees is a celebration of the vital importance of trees to our culture, environment, diet and spiritual well-being. The combination of factual, scientific and historical information makes for a fascinating read. It is a work of art and science with charming illustrations which will delight tree lovers everywhere'. Professor Nicola Spence, the UK Government's Chief Plant Health Officer
'This is the best love letter to trees I have ever read. Had I written it myself, I would die happy'. Sir Tim Smit, Founder of The Eden Project