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The Invention of Nature - Andrea Wulf

The Invention of Nature - Andrea Wulf

Hodder and Stoughton

Regular price €16,95 EUR
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Our take

Andrea Wulf’s “The Invention of Nature” is a remarkable biographical account of Alexander von Humboldt’s explorations and the impact these had on our perception of nature. His scientific legacy lives on in the names of multiple plants, animal species, towns, mountain ranges and waterfalls. However, his ideas - revolutionary for his time - are now somewhat forgotten. Von Humboldt argued against the dominant view of man as separate from the natural world and dominating it. Instead, he was one of the first European scientists to shed light on human activity’s negative impacts on nature and propose that the world is an interconnected, web-like organism. Instead of separating disciplines and subjects into silos, he argued for connecting the dots between various disciplines to see the bigger picture. While von Humboldt received recognition in his lifetime, his ideas and holistic approach to understanding the world have consequently fallen out of favour. This captivating book tries to bring this visionary and his ideas back to life.

Publisher's description

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist – more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there’s a penguin, a giant squid – even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.

His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy’s Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world’s highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar’s revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, ‘the greatest man since the Deluge’.

Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps – racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles – Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and The Invention of Nature traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it’s only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.

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