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A Short History of the Honey Bee: Humans, Flowers, and Bees in the Eternal Chase for Honey Hardcover – May 20, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[W]hen this honey connoisseur speaks of the sweet substance as ‘the truest distillation of the landscape,’ it’s easy to be seduced by the idea. You’ll want to participate in a honey tasting after finishing this book.”

(Kathryn Hall Sierra Club’s The Green Life blog)

Whether describing the life of an individual bee from her start as an egg to her death from hard work roughly six weeks later, or how honey is made from flower nectar by the alchemy of the bees, the author’s passion for the subject shines through.
(Elizabeth Licata Booklist)

This book by the poetic E. Readicker-Henderson and the talented photographer Ilona far exceeded my wildest expectations. I am, in short, in love with this book! ... Readers, I implore you. Buy this book. Then buy it for others. And teach your children every word. Every one.
(Sara Busse PlantWhateverBringsYouJoy.com)

"Amazing photography and whimsical yet engaging text."
(Horticulture)

"Filled with just the right mixtures of learning, personal narrative and historical facts, this piece is enhanced by strikingly beautiful photographs by Ilona, set among the pages like brilliant gems.  The prose is comprehensible and inspiring."


(Sacramento Book Review)

"Readicker-Henderson … makes no apology for his very personal delight in the succulent ambrosia of honey and his enthusiasm for local products rather than the bland, sweet, blended gloop sold in plastic bottles."


(Gardens Illustrated)

"Honey is a main subject of this delightful book … certainly our diet cannot be the same without honey bees."
(Recorder)

“This is a short and accessible narrative, written through the author’s personal experience growing up with honey and becoming a beekeeper. His delight and dedication to bees comes through, and Ilona’s images are gorgeous.”
(Buffalo Spree)

The amazing photography and the engaging text are fabulous.

About the Author

Ilona McCarty is renowned for her close-up work of flowers and nature. Her book Fleurish was honored with a Lucie International Photography Award in 2006. She lives in Salmon, ID.


E. Readicker-Henderson is a beekeeper turned regular writer and contributor to National Geographic Traveler, Sierra, and others, and has won numerous awards for his writing. He lives in Bellingham, WA.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; First Edition edition (May 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881929425
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881929423
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,184,589 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Timber Press has published a wide variety of quality books on plants and related areas. This clearly is a related area. It is a book by someone who really loves bees, a compliment. It has wonderful photographs and a delightful flow of the story of the author's dealings with this creatures.

However, it is not strong on the scientific side, and is really a light hearted tale of the author and the honey bee. I had hoped that it would have been a bit stronger on the bee, the bee families, the details of some of the problems bees face today, and frankly something a bit more filled with content rather than experience.

The book is enjoyable, but there was an ambiguity of expectations. I have seen this more and more with Timber in that they have wonderful picture books but lack the depth one would like in a more technical presentation.

All in all the author has done a good job at what was the initial intent.
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Format: Hardcover
Edward Readicker-Henderson's suburban upbringing featured bees rather than a swimming pool in the backyard. His experience with honey is intimate and passionate, and fueled by long hours of observation. He writes on the first morning living with bees: "By the time I peeked over the sill, they were already well into their day, entirely busy, busy as bees, going about their fine business of transforming the world into a taste, gathering up the terrain, flower by flower."

The book has plenty of quirky facts, for instance, it takes two million flower visits and 50,000 miles of flying to make a pound of honey. There's rich information about beekeeping through history, fascinating bee dances, and the hive's complex culture.

But more than that, this book is a celebration of honey. Readicker-Henderson calls a jar of honey "a voyage of discovery, a promise of risk and reward." He calls a taste of honey "a pure and flawless moment in the world."

The author has spent a lifetime chasing honey around the globe, sampling the sweet expression of landscapes as diverse as the deserts of the Middle East and the jungles of South Africa.

This inspiring prose is really an ode to the magical elixir of the Gods that is honey. It's a wonderful read, and will make you consider honey as never before.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be terrific. There is so much joy in the prose and it is a fun, informative read without being overly technical. The pictures were outstanding.

This is also a GREAT gift book.
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