Image: Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland in the Amazon jungle, via wikimedia.org. Painting by Eduard Ender, circa 1850; from the collection of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.
Research for my new book has me reading a lot of books about the history of natural history. Some are well known, some are obscure; some are old; some are new. (Some were borrowed, although at least this time around, none were blue.) Here are a few more minireviews (in no particular order), in case the pile of books you’ve been meaning to read isn’t big enough.
Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science (Yoon 2009, Norton). This book, Yoon tells us, started out as a history and explanation of taxonomy – the science of naming and describing species. It grew into something else, something a little bit strange, and something a bit difficult to put one’s finger on. Continue reading