Customer Reviews


50 Reviews
5 star:
 (28)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faustian Bargain
Throughout this book, I kept exclaiming, "Yes! That is how it is." Hannah Nordhaus has managed to capture the special relationship between bees and beekeepers and the stresses both are experiencing. In the end we come to understand that keeping bees alive and healthy is not easy. Some people are quick to point a finger at commercial beekeepers as the culprits behind bee...
Published on May 27, 2011 by Marla Spivak

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat interesting
It is amazing to realize that this business and "culture" exists amongst us without most people knowing anything about it. Just got a bit repetitive for me.
Published 18 months ago by Bonnie Harris


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faustian Bargain, May 27, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
Throughout this book, I kept exclaiming, "Yes! That is how it is." Hannah Nordhaus has managed to capture the special relationship between bees and beekeepers and the stresses both are experiencing. In the end we come to understand that keeping bees alive and healthy is not easy. Some people are quick to point a finger at commercial beekeepers as the culprits behind bee losses. But all beekeepers care deeply for their bees. Norhaus clearly portrays how beekeepers face a deal with the devil when they move their bees into orchards and other crops for pollination. Everyone that eats almonds, fruits and vegetables needs to understand this vital and ironic situation.

Nordhaus walks us into the world of bees through the eyes and heart of John Miller, a commercial beekeeper who transports his 10,000 colonies of bees between North Dakota and California for honey production and almond pollination. John is wacky, inspired and earth-smart, and he is the perfect person to represent beekeepers in America. The book is hilarious, disturbing, and very accurate; it's the best book about beekeeping I've read in a very long time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, May 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
A timely and informative book suitable for a wide readership. It could be subtitled The Life and Times of John Miller, Commercial Beekeeper. Miller is a character and his presence breathes life throughout the pages of the book -- Nordhaus must have realized she had a gem in Miller, around which she could build a worthy and entertaining book. Miller is descended from a long line of beekeepers and struggles annually, as do all beekeepers, to keep his thousands of colonies healthy as they face drought, disease and pestilence on a number of fronts. Nordhaus expertly weaves the history of beekeeping into her book -- beekeeping has never been easy, and is far more difficult today than for past generations. All successful beekeepers are hard workers or they wouldn't survive and Miller is no exception. Miller is an atypical beekeeper in that he is gregarious, quirky, smart (both street-smart and book-smart), with an off-beat sense of humor that helps him survive the inevitable mishaps that occur in his profession.
Highly recommneded whether you know anything about bees or not.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great untold story about bees, their keepers, and American agriculture, May 30, 2011
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
The Beekeepers Lament is a fantastic and engaging story chronicling the life and times of American bees and their keepers. Hannah Nordhaus introduces us to the world of bee wrangling with humor, details, and effortless prose. She is truly a great story teller conveying complex concepts and huge amounts of detail on bee culture, the history of beekeeping in America, the anatomy of the hive, and the pests and calamities befall bees and their keepers with ease and flow. The portrait of John Miller's migratory world of bee keeping is a phenomenal new view into commercial agriculture and its symbiotic relationship with hundreds of millions of bees traversing the country every year. He is an unforgettable character and the reader is able to fully appreciate the life and culture of the commercial beekeeping community.

A great read and you will will never look at a buzzing bee the same way again!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Flight of the living dead', January 22, 2012
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
Since 2007, honey bee hives all over the world have emptied out as their inhabitants inexplicably vanished. "In the last half decade, a third of the national [U.S.] bee herd--about a million colonies--has died each year, often under mysterious circumstances."

We are almost totally dependent on honey bees and their human keepers to pollinate our almond trees, cantaloupes, blueberries, citrus trees, bell peppers, sunflowers, etc., etc. If it's a fruit, seed, nut, or vegetable, a bee is probably responsible for bringing it into being--and these hard-working pollinators are trucked back and forth by their keepers across the United States when their services are needed. There are very few wild honey bee colonies. Maybe none. "The millions of acres of intensely and singularly planted crops at the center of the American agribusiness machine simply cannot produce without the help of the beekeepers' pollinating army."

According to author Hannah Nordhaus, bees have been a hot topic ever since the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) caused hives to empty out overnight. But honey bees were in trouble long before they started their 'flight of the living dead.' In this amiable, but ultimately sad and scary book, the reader also learns about varroa mites, wax moths, foulbrood, and PPB ('piss-poor beekeeping'): "Bees have been on life support for decades now, kept aloft only by the efforts of determined--perhaps imprudent--men" like the beekeepers who are featured in this book.

Beekeepers (bee guys) are vanishing almost as fast as their bees. It's a tough profession that requires protective suits, smokers, tons of corn syrup, a high pain threshold, plus semis, forklifts, and other utilitarian vehicles. John Miller, a multi-generational bee guy is the main focus of this book, which is part history, part science, and (yes) part lament. Be sure to watch his video on YouTube, where he gets stung several times while he is talking about why he does what he does (basically, he loves bees). According to Mr. Miller, this author has 'captured the essence' of beekeeping in America, and I (who once almost earned a badge in beekeeping in the Girl Scouts) have to agree with him.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important must read book!, June 19, 2012
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
the Beekeeper's Lament by Hannah Nordhaus brings together all the elements we have been seeing and not reacting to!
I was taught beekeeping as a child and her book re-awakened my desire to use this knowledge,become a woman beekeeper and teach my children.Her book is essential,well-written,full of historical anecdotes,facts and all kinds of info and you will become attached to John Miller and bees!Why can't we all be more flexible and have a hive or 2?Worth reading and should be in all school libraries and part of school curriculum!Thanks Hannah!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Sad, July 24, 2011
By 
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
"The age of mass production has not been kind to bees."

Before humans intervened, before the days of agribusiness, bees left to their own devices had hard, short, and sometimes violent and vicious lives. Since we've started helping them, their lives are worse. And we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

This fascinating book looks at the lives of bees and at one cantankerous commercial beekeeper, John Miller. It is no small irony that someone who "isn't fond of death," who takes it personally is involved in death everyday; it is part of the business.

Like many, I had heard of CDC, Colony Collapse Disorder, that has wreaked havoc among bees and their keepers. What I didn't realize that CDC is only a part of the problem, that bees are susceptible to a whole host of fatal and really nasty diseases. And the solutions of dosing the bees with drugs, forcing them into unnaturally early springs, transporting them around the country, feeding them with cheap corn syrup instead of their own honey - these things are not making the situation better. Neither is monocropping.

The politics of beekeeping is really eye-opening. Beekeepers are a dying breed, and agriculture as it is practiced today couldn't exist without them. You don't have to be especially interested in bees to find this book very informative. If you eat, their lives affect your life more than you probably know.

There were a couple of places in the book where the writing seemed a touch dry to me. Statements like "in the wild, honey bees have disappeared entirely" made me wish for footnotes and a bibliography, although the statement was explained later in the book. As was "bees began bringing that nectar home to evaporate into honey...." Even in my ignorance, I knew that honey isn't just evaporated nectar, oh no, not anything that straightforward, burp.

The next time you are spreading that big ol' glop of honey on your English muffin, give thanks for the dozen bees who together spent their whole lives making just a teaspoon of the stuff.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Move over honey..., November 3, 2011
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
A fascinating book about Beekeeper's and their problems which range from Colony Collapse Disorder, to hivenapping to honey laundering. I don't believe that any of us truly realize how vital bees are to our food chain.

Well told without using 20-syllable words to get her points across.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enjoyable and Compelling Investigation, October 30, 2012
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
I love books that expand my view of life and I could say I learned something, or at least paused to think about something, on every couple of pages of The Beekeeper's Lament. I also laughed and sighed and just enjoyed the read. Nordhaus thoroughly researched her subject (honeybee commerce) with head and heart and then mixed up a fine blend of both to write this book. Her inquiry is genuine, and provokes further curiosity. Her journalism sustains the art of telling a story while all kinds of unexpected and interesting facts she learned along the way neatly fit into and enrich the narrative, and keeps you turning the pages for more. You don't have to be interested in honeybees to enjoy this book, though I am confident that if you read this book you will find the world of honey bees and their keepers more interesting than you imagined. It would make a fun and original gift to any friend who enjoys a good book. And if you are interested in honeybees, definitely read it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An under appreciated industry, May 21, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
For better or worse, migratory beekeeping is absolutely essential to our food supply and the ag industry overall. The author focuses on one commercial beekeeper to illustrate the challenges of trying to manage millions of insects and try to make living doing it.
Various explanations for Colony Collapse Disorder are explored in addition to a brief history of beekeeping in America.
"The Beekeeper's Lament" is well written; accessible with lots of details without getting bogged down.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Buzz, May 20, 2012
This review is from: The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America (Paperback)
The Beekeeper's Lament is a magical mix of scintillating detail and thoughtful contemplation on the tangled, tense relationship between civilization and nature, between beekeepers and bees, between us and our food.

You might never eat another almond again without thinking about a lowly honey bee somewhere in California, doing its thing, and the army of beekeepers it takes to deliver the beehives to the right fields at the right time.

Hannah Nordhaus takes us deep into an unexpected or not-easily-explained world one step at a time. She's the unobtrusive and credible pal who will peel back the mysteries and wonder one layer at a time.

Nordhaus' interests run to the beekeepers' handlers, in particular one John Miller, who infuses much of The Beekeeper's Lament with his unique perspective on the world from his unusual vantage point. The Beekeeper's Lament is as much about Miller as it is about the bees. He's a compelling subject in his own right.

The reporting dives into the world of honey bees from a number of angles, including the ongoing puzzle with Colony Collapse Disorder, the history of beekeeping, the history of construction of manmade hives, regulatory oversight of the business, bee thieves, the biology of bees and the varieties of honey they produce, among dozens of other topics.

The heart of the story is the massive army and extraordinary coordination that's required to squeeze so much production out of the earth, a "very American story: creating a market where once there were just bugs and plants and unfettered visitation."

Nordhaus casually injects her prose with wry dollops of humor.

Bees "are creatures of routine, sticklers for order," she writes. "Their short lives revolve around tending and cleaning and feeding the queen and the young. Bees are single-minded. They do not ditch their queens just because they feel like it. They do not get restless and leave their young. They do not go on flights of fancy. They do not enroll in semesters abroad on a whim or grow dreadlocks or get tattoos or go on extended vacations. They do their jobs."

It's hard to imagine a better tour guide than Hannah Nordhaus. She's keenly observant and endlessly curious--a killer combination.

Read this book and then go buy some honey.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America
$14.99 $10.41
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.