The honeybee isn't native to the U.S., but it's hard to imagine the country without it. Like cattle, another imported species, the honeybee helped transform what European settlers saw as a vast wilderness into a land of milk and honey. First-time author Horn, who learned beekeeping from her grandfather, provides a wealth of worthy material about bees in America, from the use of the hive metaphor to justify colonization in the 1500s and 1600s, to bees' role in pollinating the prairies and orchards that we now take for granted. She discusses the attitudes of native peoples toward the insects; the beekeeping practices of African Americans, women and new immigrants; advances in beekeeping technology; the role of honey and beeswax in the U.S. economy; and the use of bee imagery in the arts. While Horn's affection for her subject is always evident, her efforts to tie beekeeping to every aspect of American life are sometimes strained—as when she writes that "because major social rifts [in the 1950s] were threatening to tear apart the 'good life,' this country's arts environment used the honey bee to negotiate difficult power struggles between races, between spouses, between political parties, between generations, [and] between legal rulings." Horn's thesis is better served without such overreaching and unconvincing claims. B&w illus. (Mar.)
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Historian and beekeeper Horn examines the arrival of the honey bee into North America and traces the influence of this valuable insect. When European colonists first settled on the East Coast, bee colonies in traditional straw skeps were considered to be essential equipment. Bees, through swarming, settled the country in advance of white settlers, and the Indians began to refer to them as the white man's fly. Beekeeping in America provided two essentials for colonists--wax for candles and honey for sweetening. Bee culture, beekeepers, and the moral values presented by the life of the bees in the hive all had major influence on how societies viewed themselves. The parallel story of the development of modern beekeeping and the effects of war, pesticides, and urbanization on the keeping of bees serves as a metaphor for the changes in human society. This excellent example of the effects agriculture has on history will be a welcome addition to the farming collection. Nancy Bent
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One of the most informative books you will read. Who knew all that about the honey bee anyway. If you read the book, that is great. If you do the audible version, even better. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Teresa J.
Very detailed history of the honey bee here in North America and Europe. It was a lot of information on the honey bee as well as on people and events that surrounded the honey bee. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Timothy W. Flowers
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is not technical but very readable and entertaining. It filled in a number of blanks concerning bees and bee history. Read morePublished 22 months ago by GLWolf
This book is wonderfully written. It is very interesting and informative. My son is a beekeeper and did a project for Cub Scouts on the HISTORY OF bees. It was very helpful to him. Read morePublished on March 6, 2013 by jody winland
I am a professional beekeeper, so I know a little about bees. "Bees In America" was informative and lively reading. A welcomed addition to all my bee books. Read morePublished on December 28, 2011 by Abigail Keam
I am a fan of writers like H.W. Brands and David McCullough. I was hoping this book would be presented in a similar way (i.e. Read morePublished on November 9, 2011 by lady lucas
I've been keeping bees for 40 years and during that time have assimilated a lot of info from trade journals, academic texts, etc. I was pretty bored with the whole thing. Read morePublished on October 23, 2005 by J. F. Leeper