Review: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

I can’t make my mind up on this one. In fact, I can, but that’s the nicest way I can come up with of saying “I didn’t like it”.

It follows a guy called Alexander von Humboldt who explored South America in the 18th and 19th century. He was pretty bonkers – he even tried to identify trees by licking them. Look:


Anyway, all the exploring he does is brilliant. Even the bit after he’s explored South America, when he’s just working crazily hard is brilliant.

But, in the end, this book is at least 3 chapters too long, and 3 of the most boring chapters I’ve ever read at that. Humboldt dies – sorry, should have warned you about the spoiler there shouldn’t I? – and then you’ve 50 odd pages on 3 scientists he’s influenced and their life stories.

Anyway, you could get to page 280, then skip to page 335, and you’d enjoy it ten times more.

Bah humbug!


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