Oak: The Frame of Civilization
Logan tries to show that the oak tree is Awfully Important to Western Civilisation, and indeed makes a reasonable case for the place of oak in various foundational texts and physical structures of our society. In particular, I liked the points made about the nutritional value of acorn flour (though it's odd that it isn't used more) and the oak structure of Westminster Hall and of early modern sailing ships. There were some odd slips (Burley for Burghley, ...more
It is sad t ...more
The couple, their house already crowded, desperately needed to expand, but the apple tree was in the way. It turned out that their sect of judaism prevented them f ...more
Oak, especially for fans of Dirt, delivers. Logan may make some sketchy (though totally intriguing) claims into the history of man, but along the way he drastically changed the way I understand humans and our relationship to nature. Plus oak trees are fascinating! I can't wait to start eating acorns and building things with traditional framing joints. Bravo Logan -- you've changed my li ...more
Let's start with what's good about it. If you're interested in acorns as food, naval history from Pepys to ironclads (US Civil War), barrel making, leather tanning or wooden-roof construction, and a pop description of oak propagation (Corvidae), and a little (char)colliery, this book is for you.
The book falls apart, well had me scratching my head in discussing acorn-economy cultures in the fertile crescent, specifically the Zagros Moun ...more
this book is by the same guy who wrote dirt: the estatic skin of the earth. that book is like poetry and is amazing, the way the author puts words together, absolutely lyrical and beautiful. this book is more straight-forward information but i never could have guessed there could be so much to know about oak trees. according to the author, and he makes a good case for it, human ...more
It's possible to read "Oak" and simply come away with an appreciation of quercus and the many benefits it has provided to humans and a host of other creatures. But that would be to miss what I consider to be major underlying themes of the book: trees (and nature) have an intrinsic worth that extends beyond mere monetary value, and humans reach their greatest potential when they appreciate and work with the natural world.
One of the most moving stories recounted occurs near the beginning of the bo...more
But it doesn't live up to the promise of the early chapters or the ...more
Logan contends that the pattern of early human population spread followed, not the spread of agriculture, but the spread of oak forests.
Interesting sections on coppering, tanning, building with oak and ship building.