The Invention of Nature

The Invention of Nature

Alexander Von Humboldt's New World

eBook - 2015
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A portrait of the German naturalist reveals his ongoing influence on humanity's relationship with the natural world today, discussing such topics as his views on climate change, conservation, and nature as a resource for all life.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2015
Edition: First American edition
ISBN: 9780385350679
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xix, 473 pages) : illustrations (some color)
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


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Aug 19, 2018

Disappointing. A conventional history written by a gardener.

Dec 30, 2017

This was one of my most enjoyable reads of the year! I was intrigued first by the topic of nature and history. However, the story of his life and his personal impact on other naturalists and the scientific community left me awestruck. I recommend this book to everyone with an interest in nature including its celebration, exploration, and preservation. While the book is dense, every word builds upon the narrative and weaves an intimate view into life, the world, and the development of natural sciences.

Oct 23, 2017

A well told narrative of an amazing man. I now have an answer to the question, "If you could go back in history and meet one person, who would it be?"

Sep 16, 2017

This was the second book I read on Alexander von Humboldt (The Humbolt Current) and it was by far one of the best historical biographies I've ever read. An inspiring book that touches on the life of one of the most influential people the world over during a time when few men and women were known outside of their country or field of work. If you want to know the origins of the environmental movement prior to the 20th century, look no further.

Apr 23, 2017

If history was written like this when I was in school, maybe I would have learned something. This biography of Alexander von Humboldt is full of adventure, copious details about Humboldt's life, and thorough adjunct information about Humboldt's friends and the people he influenced. It is as complete a viewpoint as Humboldt's own view of the world: everything is connected and that you can find meaning if you know how to use this information to make sense of the world.

That Humboldt was an obsessive in his search for information about the natural world came through succinctly. What tempers this obsession is his ability to describe what he sees with a sense of poetry. It is important to be in nature, and through observation understand the world in which we live. Unfortunately, we have not learned this lesson. In the early 1800s, he witnessed and commented on how deforestation in South American, predicting climate change.

His friends included individuals as diverse as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Simon Bolivar and Thomas Jefferson. His writings had a profound impact on Charles Darwin, Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, Walt Whitman, John Muir and Ernst Haeckel.

Hopefully this book will revise interest in Alexander von Humboldt. He should not be forgotten.

Dec 20, 2016

This was an interesting book but much too wordy. I gave up half way through.

Oct 28, 2016

This book blew my mind. I can't believe how forgotten he was. He had so many ideas before their time and informed so many others' ideas and theories about all kinds of topics related to nature and climate -- like global warming, altitude's role in species distribution... He also knew a lot of really famous and important other historical figures, so you learn about others too, like Andrew Jackson, Simon Bolivar, Goethe. I thought it was so amazing it's one of the few books I'll hold onto and I won't lend it out.

Oct 27, 2016

A very interesting book about the prescient ideas of von Humboldt. I learned a lot in reading this book.

rayhpl Jun 05, 2016

A fascinating exploration of an enigmatic trendsetter, whose profuse love for nature and discovery, along with political savvy, revolutionized the scientific world and inspired some of modern history's most important icons. An engrossing read that evokes the spirit of adventure and reinforces our connection to nature.

AnneDromeda Apr 06, 2016

Don't be daunted by the many, many pages and the teeny tiny font! This book - about a man who's arguably the father of the environmentalist movement - is both required and enjoyable reading for any naturalist in your life.

Wulf does a sublime job of giving enough information about Humboldt's science to illustrate his impact, without overwhelming the layperson with details. It's a beautiful introduction to a forgotten scientist who changed the course of history, and enlivened our understanding of the natural world.

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