Patty's Reviews > The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring

The Wild Trees by Richard   Preston
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's review
May 23, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, audiobooks, readin10
Read in May, 2010

Richard Preston is a science writer with a gift for turning complex biology into riveting page-turners. In The Wild Trees, he describes old-growth forests, mostly redwoods, that have managed to evade the timber industry's blades and still live along the coast of northern California. Preston assures us that, amazingly, until the past two decades the ecosystem formed by the intertwining limbs of these ancient, gargantuan living things had never really been studied. Preston introduces us to several researchers, most prominently botanist Stephen C. Sillett, who are probing the mysteries of the skyscraper-high forest canopy. In addition to Sillett, there's Michael Taylor, a millionaire's son and speed-chess champion who is afraid of heights but downsizes his life to work as a grocery clerk while he searches for the world's tallest tree, and Marie Antoine, who became a scholar of lichens. Eventually, Preston, who took up tree-climbing as a respite from writing, joins them up in the treetops.
My husband read this book years ago and told me many of the incredible incidents. We always planned on visiting the Calif. Redwoods and finally did it. Of course we had to listen to the Wild Trees on CD while driving up Hwy. 1 and going through the towns and groves of trees where you will find the tallest of the tall trees.
It was neck-aching to look up at these trees as Michael Taylor must have done to estimate the height of the trees and incredible to know that professionals climbed to the tip top of these trees to measure them precisely and study the diversity in the canopy. I could imagine them swaying in their beds as the breeze came up and could not imagine how one researcher fell and lived to climb them again. I love it when a non-fiction book reads like a fiction thriller. A must read.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Julia Great preview of one of our summer reading choices! How wonderful you actually SAW the "tall trees" for yourself. Thanks for a good review :-)

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