Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter Paperback – October 23, 2007
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
He opens with one of the most understated definitions in science writing: "a tree is a big plant with a stick up the middle". From this simplistic opening, he then develops an image of how complex that "stick" and "plant" combination is in the final product. This complexity didn't appear from nowhere - the author explains how evolution built it from simple beginnings. Most readers will be familiar with the fact that 46 chromosome are needed to make a human. Trees, through various mechanisms, may develop hundreds of chromosomes depending on conditions. The structure of a single tree almost pales against the variety of trees growing around our planet. Tall trees, spreading ones, trees that we often call "shrubs" - which are merely superbly adapted to their local environment - all reflect the immense diversity trees have developed over the ages. Although generally divided into but two forms, conifers and "flowering" trees, they comprise thousands of species, many probably still unknown.Read more ›
The sheer wonder, delight, and inspiration 'Trees' give to our poetic nature is only one side of what they are.
In this learned and detailed study of Trees,Colin Tudge tells us more about them than we might ever have wanted to know. He describes the different species, provides a survival guide to the way Trees manage in often challenging environments, considers the special qualities of different kinds of trees, helps us understand how Trees are a benefit not only to the 'natural world' but to human civilization and society.
He does this as he also points out the new dangers facing various species from global- warming. And he has specific recommendations on how we can better create an environment more beneficial to the natural world as a whole.
The book is disappointingly poor in one element most of its readers will certainly want to have, good illustrations of Trees. But it nonetheless is an overall encyclopediac treasure for those for whom one of the natural world's great stars are an ongoing source of interest and attraction.
As other reviewers have noted, The Tree has three distinct trunks. The first 86 pages - What Is a Tree? - answers its own question by stating that "a tree is a big plant with a pole in the middle". Later the author continues: "...there are many lineages of trees--quite separate evolutionary lines that have nothing to do with each other except that they are all plants...'Tree' is not a distinct category like 'dog' or 'horse,' It's just a way of being a plant." Thus it seems, the concept of 'tree' is more of a Platonic form than a solid scientific classification. Tudge continues to discuss the convergent evolution of trees in terms of their competitive adaptation to specific environments. I believe he would agree with me that the 'specific' is most often the root of the 'species.'
The second section of the book - All the Trees in the World, 160 pages - is an exhaustive and exhausting catalog of the families, genera, and species of trees world-wide. Unless you are the kind of reader who finds taxomony more entertaining than table tennis, this plethora of info may blur in your mind and you may abandon the book before the final section. That would be a shame, since the final section is by far the most interesting. The good news is that you can vault over the trees without losing your way in the forest.Read more ›
This is the longest book length tome on natural history I've seen just devoted to trees, and it contains a huge amount of information, enough to put off the casual reader. For example, don't listen to the two negative reviews, they should have started with a beginning book on trees as Tudge's book is just too advanced. Tudge knows his audience well, which is that of already learned and literate natural history buffs, and trying this book before laying the groundwork is like trying to learn calculus without first learning algebra and trigonometry.
But I don't need to defend Tudge as his accomplishments speak for themselves. Overall, this is probably the most detailed piece of expository writing on trees ever done, outside of formal dendrology texts, which aren't nearly as readable (I know, I've read them). If you love trees and want to learn more about their biology, classification, and ecology, there is no more enjoyable way to do it than with this book, and it is probably destined to become a masterpiece and classic of the nature genre.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tudge writes much about the history of natural things. In the past I have read his books The Link and The Bird. Read morePublished 4 months ago by C. M. Stahl
Sometimes it's a bit draggy but the information is presented well and makes a subject which might otherwise be to vast in a succinct and interesting (for the most part) manner.Published 4 months ago by Melanie
I enjoy reading Colin Tudge. The initial section on taxonomy can be a little intimidating but worth it. Read morePublished 13 months ago by patrick harmon
Excellent book that will make you see trees in a different way as the amazing plants they are with detailed but easily understandable explanations of the way they grow along with... Read morePublished 16 months ago by janie
Disappointing. Seems like this guy doesn't really like trees.Published 19 months ago by Christopher A. Mest
Wow! Absolutely recommended! Go and hug a tree! We need them, and we need to appreciate them!Published 24 months ago by John R Tollan
I thought I knew a little about trees. This book made me realize I took them for granted and couldn't see the tree for the forrest. Read morePublished on April 7, 2014 by Michael A. Strem
A wonderful book, especially Parts 1 and 3. The author writes in a style that answers your questions before these questions are clear in your own mind.Published on January 16, 2014 by Philip Wong