Invention of Nature, The

Wulf, Andrea

  16 Reviews

If Alexander von Humboldt was alive today, he would be justified in saying, 'I told you so'. Among the many and varied accomplishments of this 19th century scientist was his prediction of human-induced climate change. An intrepid explorer and visionary scientist, he was an important mover and shaker of his time, an opinion-shaper and science communicator extraordinaire, ensuring his theory of the interconnectedness of nature continues to influence how we view the natural world today.

Ostensibly a biography, this impressively researched book weaves threads of travel, adventure, intellectual pursuits and a who's who of the other luminaries of von Humboldt's era, into a thrilling and dazzling whole, a worthy celebration of this scientific superstar. [Small font]



'Mixed reactions' would be the best way to describe our group feelings for the above title. We did however all agree that there was lots to be learnt from Humboldt's brave expeditions in harsh conditions, and we had much admiration for his passion and energy with his specimen collecting, and later collating. Some found parts of the book tedious and repetitive, others doubted how 'good' he actually was with his disdain for the destruction of the environment when he himself had been associated with the mining desecration.
WANG 011
None of us was unimpressed by Humboldt's adventures and discoveries. The writing was excellent and a subject that could have been boring with a less able author was made extremely interesting and exciting. But it was our unanimous opinion that the book was too long with too much information. We thought it could have been 2-3 books with later volumes devoted to the later explorers and adventurers who were as capable as Humboldt in their own ways. Nevertheless, a book to recommend.
An engrossing read - very clearly expressed and amazingly researched. What a man Humboldt was, and what an influencer. We were astounded by the breadth and depth of his thinking. Astounded by the fact that few of us knew anything about him prior to reading this. Highly recommended.
TAUP 009
A very interesting book and an incredible character! We were all surprised that we didn't know more about Humbolt. However it is a long read, and not many of us mananged to finish it in time.
PICT 005
The technical excellence and research warrants a 5, we decided.
PICT 005
A very interesting and at times challenging read, which we appreciated. We were all impressed by the technical expertise and thoroughness evident in the writing, editing, and production of this book.
AUCK 078
Fascinating read.
CHCH 194
Absolutely stunning. A personal favourite - but the group also found it so informative while being an easy and riveting read. Most of us were amazed at how much Humboldt discovered, learnt and informed the world - and yet we didn't know about him. The font size was very unpopular with a few - but it was totally worth any effort needed. There is a children's book about Humboldt - reading age 8-12 - which I felt compelled to buy for my grandson. It is also well-written with great description.
NELS 023
We all enjoyed this book - it was recommended to us by one of our members. We learnt so much, and have a huge admiration for Humboldt, and the influence he had on other scientists. We would have given it 5 stars, but deducted 1/2 a star due to the tiny print.
The discussion on this book was very interesting. Most finished it and were very pleased they had read it. A few complained about the font size.
WELL 022
Many of the group enjoyed the learning that this book facilitated. Interconnectedness in nature is a central theme of the book, but it also revealed so much interconnectedness in social history. There were many 'light bulb' moments whilst reading. The only real gripe was with the size of the print which was too small for comfortable reading.
TAUP 004
Comments included..." The author made it interesting to read - knowledge shared. What a fascinating subject. A fantastic book. Maps are very good. Humboldt was the first who made connections, such as humans being only part of the natural world".
All our group found this book extremely interesting especially the first half.
ASHB 022
The book was enjoyed by all, and we commented on how he influenced a number of explorers and scientists once they had read his book. He was a man before his time, and some of his findings are still relevant today.
All but one rated this book a 5. It was just so full of interest, covering not only the remarkable life of Humboldt, but tying in so many relevant areas of that time - history, philosophy, poetry and writing, politics, art and architecture, travel and discovery; his influence on other people of renown, and the relevance of his 200 year old ideas on ecology to us today. So well researched; a wonderful achievement.
One of the best books the group has read - about an amazing man and his contribution to our understanding (albeit so late) to the consequences of climate changes. Although some members have ordered copies for themselves, few of us had been able to finish it - it is so dense with ideas and the print is tiny. A wonderful book to devour slowly, and revisit many times.