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The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
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The acclaimed author of "Founding Gardeners "reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt, the visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world and in the process created modern environmentalism. Alexander von Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the... show more
The acclaimed author of "Founding Gardeners "reveals the forgotten life of Alexander von Humboldt, the visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world and in the process created modern environmentalism.

Alexander von Humboldt was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt's most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone.
Now Andrea Wulf brings the man and his achievements back into focus: his daring expeditions and investigation of wild environments around the world and his discoveries of similarities between climate and vegetation zones on different continents. She also discusses his prediction of human-induced climate change, his remarkable ability to fashion poetic narrative out of scientific observation, and his relationships with iconic figures such as Simon Bolivar and Thomas Jefferson. Wulf examines how Humboldt's writings inspired other naturalists and poets such as Darwin, Wordsworth, and Goethe, and she makes the compelling case that it was Humboldt's influence that led John Muir to his ideas of natural preservation and that shaped Thoreau's "Walden."

With this brilliantly researched and compellingly written book, Andrea Wulf shows the myriad fundamental ways in which Humboldt created our understanding of the natural world, and she champions a renewed interest in this vital and lost player in environmental history and science.
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Format: hardcover
ISBN: 9780385350662 (038535066X)
ASIN: 038535066X
Publisher: Knopf
Pages no: 496
Edition language: English
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Community Reviews
Reader! Reader!
Reader! Reader! rated it
5.0 The Invention of Nature
The Humboldt Current. Humboldt County (CA and NV). Humboldt State University (CA) and Universidad Humboldt (Venezuela). These and the many other "Humboldt" place names aren't honoring different Humboldts. They are all honoring one--Prussian naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt.And while Am...
Reflections
Reflections rated it
5.0 Widely loved, then largely forgotten
A scientific expedition had long been Alexander von Humboldt’s dream, so when he stepped onto the shores of Latin America in 1799 he was beyond excited, and soon began exploring, measuring, comparing, questioning, and chronicling everything: the distribution of indigenous plants, barometric pressure...
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