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The Secret Life of Plants: a Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man Paperback – March 8, 1989


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The Secret Life of Plants: a Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man + What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row, Publishers (March 8, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060915870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060915872
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Plenty of hard facts and astounding scientific and practical lore." -- --Newsweek

From The Washington Post

"This fascinating book roams...over that marvelous no man's land of mystical glimmerings into the nature of science and life itself."

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Customer Reviews

This is a must read for anyone with an interest in the Plant Kingdom.
Alvin S Barlow Jr
Plants also are also proven, in this book, to respond to human sexuality in a very powerful (if not anthropomorphized) manner.
D. Pawl
SECRET LIFE is like the old Disney films because the book describes science that challenges stereotypical mainstream thinking.
Dianne Foster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

261 of 285 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Foster HALL OF FAME on July 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird is a wonderful book of wisdom about the plant world and life in general. Like many people my age, I cut my teeth on Disney's "Living Desert" back in the 1950s. That film killed the notion for me that nothing lives in Death Valley and if Death Valley can be alive what else is possible?
SECRET LIFE is like the old Disney films because the book describes science that challenges stereotypical mainstream thinking. Anyone who believes plants are sentient beings will love this book. If you've done much reading on this subject you've probably seen Tompkins and Bird quoted elsewhere.
In the first part of their book, the authors explore the attributes of plants and pretty much conclude they have everything in common with animals-except plants probably came first on the evolutionary ladder and prepared the way for animals. In fact, if earth was invaded by alien species, the authors suggest the aliens were probably plants. But, you say, plants have roots and stay put (for the most part) and plants produce chlorophyll. Shell fish (oysters, mussels) and sea anemones can be rooted to one spot and small protozoa-like creatures produce chlorophyll.
Probably the thing I like the best about this book is that finally, someone links the Chakras to real body parts-the seven endocrine centers--and explains the reasons why these "hot spots" are so important. Also, Tompkins and Bird explain the scientific reasoning behind Bach flower remedies and many other "new age" products you can find at Fresh Fields and other holistic stores.
Skeptics will always have doubts, but after 30 years of organic gardening and non-academic exposure to plants, I know Tompkins and Bird are onto something.
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103 of 114 people found the following review helpful By D. Pawl VINE VOICE on May 25, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not exaggerating. When I picked up a copy of THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS, to go on a journey into the previously "unknown" world of plants, it was listed as, both, a new age and an occult book. Yes, to some it sounds pretty woo woo and out there that the common houseplant could take such a liking to Brahms, or such a disliking to hard rock music, that it would be driven to either thrive or shrivel. Yet, according to scientists and scientific scholars, stranger things have happened--and, in their words and by their accounts, they really DID happen! For example, plants who were the subjects of numerous tests and studies in a laboratory, were proven to have "human-like" feelings for the people that they were introduced to. In fact, the relationships progressed to the point that when one of the participants in the study nearly got run over by public transportation on the street, the participating plant was recorded in reacting in alarm to the peril that the human subject was put in! This wasn't all. Plants also are also proven, in this book, to respond to human sexuality in a very powerful (if not anthropomorphized) manner. Besides the studies, we are introduced to the beliefs of Goethe and the scientific progress made by George Washington Carver (of peanut cultivation fame).

I can definitely see why this engrossing book inspired a soundtrack and an (as of today) unreleased documentary film. This book, written by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, is, quite possibly one of the most engrossing books pertaining to biology and modern-day symbiotic relationships between plants and humans that I have ever read. If THE SECRET LIFE OF PLANTS had been assigned reading in my high school biology class, I might have chosen a different path in college (in the plant sciences, perhaps!). If that isn't a vote of confidence from me, the humble liberal arts major, I don't know what is! Read this fantastic book today.
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115 of 137 people found the following review helpful By A. Bannigan on August 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book changed my life. I found it absolutely fascinating and was stunned when my PhD supervisor (I'm a plant biologist) told me that she had read it too. I was interested to know where the amazing information came from that they present and was dissapointed, but not particularly surprised, that all the "science" that they refer to is published in journals with names like "The Russian Journal of Parapsychology" and the like. Not a single one was in a journal that I could easily get access to, so, while it is wonderful food for thought and a great hommage to the importance and wonder of plants, the evidence they present should be taken with a grain of salt unless you can find other research backing it up. But enjoy. It really is mind-boggling!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Sprague on October 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
i love this book impressed me forever with wonderful natural mysteries about plants organic functions, even instincts. Like sensing peoples emotions, learned via lie detector tests. It explains how new frontiers of what plants are feeling & can do now. But that goes back millions of years of all animals depending on plants, water, air & microbes we need to live healthy.
I'm still learning about plants functions of utter simple & complex, spirals & fertility thru the seasons cycles in their foodwebs.

Also the movie of it with Stevie Wonder's magical soundtrack is inspiring! And few more books on plants magical qualities are in print now. Glad the movie is now available. I met Peter Thompkins a few years ago was wonderful. 'Secret Life' still is basic inspiring book for all Permaculture & botoney & wild plants & herb studies. It connects human Nature with plants sensitivities. See "Gaia's Garden, Second Edition: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture"]
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