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The Triumph of the Fungi: A Rotten History Hardcover – August 31, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0195189711 ISBN-10: 019518971X Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Money writes in an easy and pleasant fashion with strong personal opinions; he essentially provides a one-on-one colloquy."--The Quarterly Review of Biology


"It is a seriously good read, packed with interesting and unexpected asides and notes, so you never quite know what to expect-enthusiasm and excitement exude from every page... This is a book all mycologists should read, and one that should be compulsory in plant pathology courses." --Mycological Research


"Biologists and the scientifically informed public will benefit from the opportunity to learn about the classic fungal diseases of plants in a book written in an enjoyable, often witty style. ... Money uses colorful language in explaining much of the intricate biology of fungi; he is scientifically accurate and serious when appropriate." --Choice


"The book rewards its readers-including those who begin the book with little interest in fungi-by focusing on plants with obvious importance to people (chestnut and elm trees; cacao, coffee and rubber plants; potatoes, corn and wheat) and by embedding lessons about fungal biology in stories peppered with memorable detail." --American Scientist


"A first rate scholar and historian of plant pathology, Money is an able raconteur."-- ycologist's Bookshelf


About the Author

Nicholas P. Money is at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019518971X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195189711
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.8 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #954,354 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Welcome to my book page. I'm a 53-year-old, breathtakingly attractive, Anglo-American author of a sextet of books on fungi and other microorganisms, and several works-in-progress. A handful of unpublished writings are available on www.nikmoney.com. My work is defined by my love of science and belief in its power to make sense of life, the universe, and everything else.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Apart from some strained attempts at humour, starting with the subtitle, Nicholas Money has produced an excellent book. The book is a well-organised and expressively written presentation of how various fungi [and their relations] have and are assaulting valuable trees and crops around the planet. With excellent graphics to support the text, the author describes how fungal infections have attacked decorative or lumber tree species, such as the chestnut and jarrah, crop plants like coffee, potatoes and rubber. He explains how the infections were detected and investigated by various researchers and what steps have been taken to curb or eliminate the infestation. The latter point is the one that should prompt the reader's close attention.

Although to many people, the blight causing the Irish Potato Famine may be the best known of fungal infections, Money opens with a story of the extermination of the American Chestnut. The account shows how little was known of fungi life cycles at the turn of the last century. Coping with the spreading infection was sporadic and ineffective. The spores, Money calculates, spread at the rate of over 100 metres per day. Small wonder governments failed to address the epidemic successfully. Control, in any case, would have meant an interdict on seed and seedling importation and transport, a multi-million dollar business. Such a draconian imposition would have raised the ire of business and governments alike. So we lost the chestnut. And the elm. The oaks and redwoods in California are presently under threat from a similar infestation. How can microbes be so destructive and apparently so immune to counter-measures?

Fungi are insidious in their invasive tactics and are talented breeders.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Young on February 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Could a book on fungus make you laugh out loud? If the book in question is Dr. Nicholas Money's wonderful The Triumph of the Fungi, it certainly could. I laughed the whole way through, starting with the subtitle - A Rotten History, and learned so much along the way.

Each chapter of the book tackled a crop I take for granted, describing how it gained prominence, revealing who it enriched, and delving into what fungus destroyed or has the power to destroy it. Dr. Money tied in the historical aspects of each mycological disaster, making the book easy going, even for a nonscientist. As an English major, I only took two semesters of biology, so it would have been easy to lose me in the details. The numerous real-life examples, comparisons, quips, and allusions, however, made what would have been dry and inaccessible material in another author's hands fresh and fun.

Before this book, I knew nothing about how dangerous monocultures are and how at risk current farming practices make us. I had only a glimmer of how complex the life cycles of fungi are. I certainly didn't realize how impossible it is for fungicides to keep up with the rapidity of evolution in the fungal world. And now I do.

It took me months to read this book because I'm a teacher and, during the school year, I only get to read in 15-minute "Silent Reading" intervals. This kind of interrupted reading makes even great books take a loooong time to finish. To Dr. Money's credit, the book was so well written that even a sporadic reader found it easy to pick up where she left off and forge on. It's a rare book that entertains as well as it educates; Triumph of the Fungi does just that.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael F. Kuo on December 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It is often said that the cockroaches will outlast us--but Nicholas Money's new book convinces me it will be the fungi who triumph in the end. This wonderful, terrifying book details the devastation wrought by the fungi and our feeble efforts to keep them at bay. How is it possible that a book with such a grim message is a page-turner that makes you laugh out-loud on nearly every page? Because this guy can WRITE. Money is the Steven Jay Gould of mycology, the Richard Dawkins of the fungi, and this book is fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laurence Chalem on May 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Presented as a collection of a few short stories, THE TRIUMPH OF THE FUNGI: A ROTTEN HISTORY is a good, accessible work of non-fiction written by a master of both fungi and prose. Dr. Money is such an engaging writer, that all his books are worth reading. This particular book focuses on the most deadly fungi, at least from the perspective of the organisms that are being killed. Indeed, according to some plants, these few fungi are mass murderers on the scale of many orders of magnitude greater that the worst of human murderers. Highly recommended... - lc
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. J Stemke on July 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As a microbiologist I like to read connections to many of the areas that I study. This book, a series of essays on fungi is just 8 such chapters, and forgive the pun, they are mostly golden moldies. The Chestnut blight, Dutch Elms Disease, the Potato famine, are three of the eight chapters known to most readers of this type of book. As new as it is I would have thought some of the newer areas of mycology might have gotten mentioned, such as the Chytrid pathogen that is globally devastating amphibian populations. The text is only 159 pages plus a bunch of notes. Think of the book as a mini review, but considering its price, a disappointment. If you are looking for a quick read and don't come into the book with a lot of background you may very well enjoy the book.
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