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A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees Hardcover – April 29, 2014


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A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees + Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton Field Guides)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (April 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250048370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250048370
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #185,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Although the disturbing recent spread of bee colony collapse disorder has prompted media outlets to take a closer look at these humble, honey-gathering insects, for Goulson, the study of bees has been a lifelong passion. As he recounts in this absorbing and informative hybrid between guidebook and memoir, Goulson fell in love with the buzzing creatures as a young nature buff growing up in rural Shropshire, England. However, one variety of bee, the short-haired bumblebee, which Goulson observed as a boy, is now gone, a fact that spurred him to found the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and lead efforts to bring this particular species back to the UK from New Zealand. In between describing the ordeal that ensued when Goulson and a fellow entomologist traveled to New Zealand to solve the puzzle of shipping bumblebee queens back to England, the author gives readers a solid grounding in bee gestation, anatomy, culture, and the many environmental threats bees are currently facing. An outstanding piece of nature writing that also celebrates one of humankind’s most cherished insects. --Carl Hays

Review

A Sting in the Tale melts memoir and conservation issues into a sweet pot, moving from subject to subject very much in the manner of a foraging bee seeking flowers….The book is warm and delightful: I frequently found myself wanting to put it down to go bird and bee-watching, to find for myself the species [Goulson] discusses.”—NPR

A Sting in the Tale is both a whodunit as well as a revealing study of a bug on whom we depend a great deal.”—Seattle Times

“[Goulson's] enthusiasm shines through as he tells of his attempt to bring the short-haired bumblebee back to Britain, its native land....Goulson transforms what could be dry material with stinging wit.”—New York Post  

“Goulson's personal touch is stamped throughout...peppered with fascinating observations, a sense of good cheer, and Goulson's undeniable passion for an oft-uncelebrated subject, here presented for appreciation by the casual armchair naturalist.”—Publishers Weekly

“What you never knew about bumblebees, from a man who is both passionate and knowledgeable....[An] impressive debut....A delightful book by an author filled with enthusiasm for the natural world and in possession of just the right touch for sharing it with others.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Absorbing and informative...An outstanding piece of nature writing that also celebrates one of mankind's most cherished insects.”—Booklist

“Fascinating and inspiring. Dave Goulson is a genial raconteur, with much to teach us about the biology and conservation of our insect cousins.”—D. G. Haskell, author of Pulitzer Prize Finalist The Forest Unseen

“Goulson's adventures with bumblebees tells the well-written story of the making of a naturalist, and also enchantingly informs us not only about bees but also about ecosystems and conservation.”—Bernd Heinrich, Author of Bumblebee Economics and Mind of the Raven

“[Goulson’s] book is not only enormously informative, but also hugely entertaining: its light touch and constant humour make cutting-edge research a pleasure to read about. For anyone interested in the natural world, this is essential reading.”—The Independent (London)

“Goulson combines enthusiasm with academic authority, addressing the amateur beekeeper and professional apiarist in well-judged proportion.”—The Times (London)

“Goulson has plenty of wondrous biological stories to tell, as well as the tale of his own struggle to return the short-haired bumblebee to Britain.”—The Guardian (London)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Very well written, scientifically based but in a journalistic readable style.
Dr.A.
I also like how he literally demonstrated that ecosystems can regain strength and persevere if given time and encouragement.
audrey
An absolutely fantastic read, easy, informative and lots of fun - want to discover more and more about the World of Bees.
Judy Tipple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Holly Faust on March 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book took a while to arrive - coming from overseas- as one might expect. Was packed very well, almost too well. No damage at all what so ever to the book in shipping. I love the book. Very well written and informative! Some of his stories are very funny, they caought me off gurad! Am reading it now and actually taking notes and underlining in the book. I plan on including this book as a resource to teach others about our native bees. Well worth the wait. Terrific author!! Thank-you!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Quintus Horatius Flaccus on December 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Goulson writes well and clearly. His account of what we know about bumblebees is conversational and enlivened by lots of pleasant stories from his own life and that of his students and colleagues. An easy book to read. Plenty of advice, too, about how to help bumblebees survive and thrive in your garden or neighborhood.

A few small caveats: surprisingly, there are occasional inaccuracies in the science when topics other than bumblebees are mentioned. Secondly, there's a lot of great bumblebee research around the world but Goulson is very focused on studies done in the U.K. and Europe.

If you like books that mix nature, science, and good storytelling and give you the broader view of all the tens of thousands of bee species on the Earth, try Laurence Packer's "Keeping the Bees", which I think is even better written.
Keeping Bees Laurence Packer
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cdh Manning on August 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I just read this book and found it very interesting.

It is good to see a book that is not just parroting the party line on Colony Collapse Disorder etc. and shows that there are both pros and cons to introducing bees.

It is a pity the book is slightly marred by some inaccuracies that undermine the credibility of a scientist. For example, there are no foxes in New Zealand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judy Tipple on April 6, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An absolutely fantastic read, easy, informative and lots of fun - want to discover more and more about the World of Bees. It was a page-turner as much as any novel. Goulson has great ability to share technical knowledge with the less-informed in a way that is interesting, amusing and totally unpatronising. Great book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dargrace on May 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I received this book as part of the Goodreads first-reads program, for review purposes. Dave Goulson is the founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. This book, his first, is an indepth study of the life of bees, conservation and ecological impact of the many varieties of bees worldwide. Published by Picador, this book is a finalist for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Dave lives in the UK and is now a Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling. He has won several awards for his work with bees and has a property in France where he is running further experiments on the ecological effect of native plants on bee habitats. There, the introduction is finished and I can rave about this book now. I didn't know what to expect with this book. I grew up on a farm, bees were everywhere I looked. One of my children is deadly allergic to them so we avoid them when possible. Perhaps the two points of views are, in retrospect, why I chose to try to get this book. It held my interest until the end. The tale of the decline of bees worldwide, the impact they have on our food supply, and the thoughts of a man hightailing it to chase a single bee just because it is a rare species was delightful. I have been given a rare, insightful glimpse into the world of the common and not so common bee. It will stick with me for a long time and I think this may be the author's intent. When we as consumers think about where our next meal comes from we then will be more mindful when we wander in our our gardens, along the hedgerows or in my case, the desert. How can we conserve these fine and unique, God created creatures.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This book tells the tale of a passionate scientist that embarked on a quest to save the little things of this world that are so very important, yet overlooked by so many. Professor Goulson has a brilliant mind that manages to translate expert scientific knowledge into an unescapably captivating story for absolutely anyone (you don’t need any previous knowledge on bees or science in general to enjoy this book)! ‘A Sting in the Tale’ is a delightful piece of literature with amazing stories that will make you laugh on multiple occasions! The author delivers a perfect composition of fascinating information about bumblebees, important messages on conservation issues, and personal experiences that depict the process of scientific research from an entertaining and adventurous perspective. It is not just a good read, but also helps to raise awareness of a range of problems that need to be addressed. Enthusiastic people like Dave Goulson who strive to save the beauty of the natural world should be supported in every possible way! In saying that, ‘A Sting in the Tale’ makes a great gift too if you want to help ‘spread the word’!

It is truly difficult to stop reading once you start - I absolutely loved this book and I cannot recommend it highly enough! Excitingly, I have heard that the sequel called ‘A Buzz in the Meadow’ will be released in September - I cannot wait to get my hands on it!
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