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The Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men
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The Queen Must Die and Other Affairs of Bees and Men

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  195 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
"An engaging collection of observations about honeybees and their activities."—Publishers Weekly
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 17th 1988 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Kara Smith
May 15, 2014 Kara Smith rated it it was amazing
William Longgood is, in my opinion, the world's best beekeeper. He is also a talented author who can take the subject of bees and discourse relationships of all kinds using bees. The reader is taken completely into the world of bees - with very little human intervention at all, save for his presence as our guide - and yet suddenly so many things about life's interactions are revealed. I have read this book three times in my life (although after having amnesia, the second read was as new to me as ...more
Stephen
Sep 15, 2015 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book, I thought bees were cool, and I liked the taste of honey. I knew about queens and workers and bee dances, I knew about swarming and I knew how a beehive is constructed. I'm not a beekeeper, but my dad is, and I have enough curiosity that I've picked up some of the basics.

Mr Longgood's quiet little thirty-year-old book, though, is a kind of meditation on beeness: an exploration of the motivations, desires, and attitudes of the simple honeybee as she goes about her busine
...more
Kerry
Tons of great insights into the world of the bee. Not a beekeeping manual by any means, but a good place to start. I learned so much from this book, first chance I get I'm going to go out and buy it.

Wow, the mating patterns of the honey bee are messed up, poor drones.
Sjancourtz
Jul 01, 2014 Sjancourtz rated it really liked it
This is one of those wonderful books that helps us see how interrelated we are with all of nature. I'm not a beekeeper, but was still fascinated by his fluent, even at times romantic descriptions of how the bees selflessly devote their brief little lives to the welfare of the hive. It's beautifully written. For those of you who enjoy a good, contemplative read, that makes you look up and view all the plants and creatures around us with more understanding and wonder, definitely, read this book. I ...more
Jane
Feb 02, 2008 Jane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a wonderful book. It is fascinating whether you are interested in bees or not, with astute observations about the natural world and our connections to it. Highly recommend!
Coby
Mar 31, 2016 Coby rated it really liked it
Longgood, a journalist and beekeeper, has written a wonderful observational tour of the life of bees and a philosophical study of bees and men. It is neither a how-to book on beekeeping nor a scientific study of bees. It is a loving view of bees, their activities, work ethic, dedication to the hive often in comparison to the same areas in the human world.
Deb
Sep 19, 2013 Deb rated it it was amazing
This is one of the early books I chose to read on beekeeping a couple of years ago. I found it a great introduction to bee facts, bee lore and that strange breed, beekeepers. But it was the philosophical aspect that I loved most.
How does a colony survive? What is justified for the good of the whole? What are our imperatives? What is the value of an individual? What is the value of life spent in unrelenting toil?
Yikes, this makes it sound deathly serious, which it certainly isn't. It is the cap
...more
Nikki
May 04, 2016 Nikki rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite of all of the bee books that I've read. The book is full of interesting facts about bees, while at the same time being very philosophical and beautifully written!
Elaine
Feb 07, 2016 Elaine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
Elegant prose, wonderful stories. The story of the queen's mating is burned into my grey matter forever.
Debbie
Jul 28, 2016 Debbie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: animals
An uncommonly respectful and considerate look at bees. I really appreciated the author's openness to bees having thoughts and feelings.
Michelle
Oct 06, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing
William Longgood has taken the logical parts of beekeeping and exposed its emotional side. He has dissected every aspect of the hobby/business and his heart is open in every word he uses to describe these beautiful insects. As an emotional beekeeper, it is nice to see someone put into words what is so hard to convey to those who don't keep bees or those who don't care if they live or die. Plus the fact that you walk away from this book with the sense that humans could learn a thing or two from ...more
JoAnne
Oct 05, 2013 JoAnne rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable description of the lives of honeybees for the general public from the perspective of a beeloving beekeeper. One statement about propolis in the book is not correct. Recent research (unknown to the author) has discovered the extreme importance of the propolis bees make from plant resins to coat and seal their hive. It is their communal immune system and they actually gather different plant resins to make it, depending on what pathogens they are exposed to- kind of like gettin ...more
Cheryl
Sep 18, 2010 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-gr
Definitely enjoyed this and read it start to finish without a break. It was alluded to in another book I read so I picked it up and am so glad I did. Not my usual sort of book but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The author's fascination with bees is both interesting and contagious. Beekeeping sounds like something I'd enjoy.

I agree with the other reviewers, poor drones...Male readers might want to skip that chapter, it is rather traumatic!
Claire
Sep 28, 2008 Claire rated it liked it
Recommends it for: beekeeping enthusiasts
Recommended to Claire by: The Monroe Public Library
A little tedious at times, but a pretty good read. There were interesting tips about beekeeping that haven't appeared in any of the other books I've read. I do wish there were more shades of The King Must Die. It was too self-conscious (or not self-conscious enough) for that kind of literary exploration. I wouldn't read it unless you're interested in beekeeping.
Donna
Jan 28, 2015 Donna rated it really liked it
A very interesting and insightful book about bees and life in general.
Kate
Dec 23, 2009 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A classic book of essays about the life of bees and their keepers. First published in the 80s, it doesn't have anything about the recent mysterious diseases attacking our insect friends but it is full of the idylic rapsodies that beekeepers love to write about their neighbors, the bees. Plenty of other practical information, too.
Robin Heim
Jan 11, 2014 Robin Heim rated it it was amazing
Really, really enjoyed reading this book. Though at first glance it doesn't look like something that everyone could relate to, it most certainly does. I highly recommend reading it -- just because. You may be surprised to "relate" as much as you will to it.
Samantha York
Feb 03, 2014 Samantha York rated it really liked it
This book was a total delight. I don't know that it would be much of a guide for beekeeping, but I thoroughly enjoyed it as a tale of bees and men. If you have any interest in bees, or even in animals as reflections of humanity, this will be a joy.
Heather
I'm having fun reading this book. it talk about the bee society but it is almost more like a novel. It does heavily promote the evultionary (can't spell it!) theory of the world. so if you don't like that...
William Bennett
Dec 07, 2013 William Bennett rated it liked it
Enjoyable and informative. Could be read as anthropomorphic about bees (uncool) or apiomorphic about people - or maybe just allegorical. In any case, a readable, if dated, introduction to bee biology and beekeeping.
Natalie
Oct 19, 2010 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, fabulous, fantastic. His love for the beautiful honeybee shines through in his writing, which is descriptive and humourous. I thought I knew a lot about bees, but now I know even more!
Fred
Feb 17, 2011 Fred rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apiary
this was by far the most engaging BeeKeeping book i've stumbled across. it's written like a novel, you can just read it straight through, super sweet.
rachel burgos
May 23, 2010 rachel burgos rated it it was amazing
the best book about honeybees out there. longgood has a real feeling and passion for not only beekeeping, but the bees themselves. incredible.
Joanie
Jan 12, 2010 Joanie rated it liked it
Not my favorite honeybee book but good. Sopoforic for beekeepers and Nonbeekeepers. Don't tell Chip I said so though.
Rachel
Jun 27, 2008 Rachel rated it really liked it
Bees & the way they operate are really amazing, and this author has a wry sense of humor that makes it a quick read.
Stephanie
Jul 21, 2009 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: from-library, gave-up
This started off well but just did not hold my interest.

Started June 27, 2009.
Amy
bees are amazing, mystical creatures...i take a spoonfull of honey everyday
Tim
Jun 08, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it
Great book to learn about what is happening in the hive.
Kyla Squires
Jan 12, 2013 Kyla Squires rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, sciences
Enjoyable. Interesting look into the life of Bees.
Bernard
Jul 29, 2011 Bernard rated it really liked it
Excellent book about bees.
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