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Insectopedia (Vintage) Paperback – 22 Mar 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc; Reprint edition (22 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400096960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400096961
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By reindeernation on 3 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book that I recommend to all posthumanities scholars, insect folk, and anybody interested in having their ideas of the microcosmos shaken up and repoliticised in all sorts of provocative ways. The text is very Benjaminian, at turns poetic and funny, but constellating into a radical rethink of non-human worlds. Its a book to keep delving into, being surprised by and thinking with.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Richard G. S. Simon on 6 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A truly amazing book. I had no particular interest in insects until I started reading it. very well written, very entertaining ,and full of amazing information. Did any of you know that one of the main sports in Shanghai is cricket fighting( and I don't mean test match squabbles).? A rare gem.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Griffiths on 15 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am afraid I did not read the whole of this book as it was written by an author who did not understand his subject. In one chapter on insect dispersal he cited an old text which suggested that the death of a lot of the insects was "for the good of the species". Although "for the good of the species" sounds good and is trotted out a lot it is wrong. Individual animals and plants do what is good for them. If they help a member of their family it is because they expect help from that individual in the future. They do not do what is "for the good of the species" by laying down their life as it does not help them. Selfishness rules.

In a later chapter he follows a lady who has carried out a lot of sketches of the Drosophila fly downwind of Chernobyl after its disastrous accident. She sketched a lot of eye mutations and then tried to sell that as evidence that it was because of the effects of Chernobyl. The author slated scientists as they did not accept this as evidence. The problem is that is was not evidence. There was no "control" where this means a similar study in a none effected area. Drosophila can breed like rabbits and if a few are not up to scratch it does little to reduce the parents success as they produce lots. You have to provide a study that shows what happens to the flies 1) with Chernobyl and 2) without Chernobyl before it can be used as evidence.

I stopped reading there as it was like reading a book about supermarkets written by someone who had never actually been shopping.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Crazy bugs, crazy people 28 April 2010
By Tyler Boersen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is about those moments when you've thought the cockroach in the sink was staring back at you. It is not about entomology, and it's not science. It's about how human imagination brings insects into view in unexpected ways, and it's about the ways insects can show people in a curious light. It's about finding out that you are surrounded by thousands of bugs that never bother you, and it's about that moment of sickness when you learn how many spiders you swallow at night. The writing doesn't argue but rather demonstrates through the use of often dainty details and metaphors that can be as fragile as the wings of a fly. Sometimes the language can be too fragile - but overall it's generous, playful, and quite a joy to read.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Interesting look at the human world through insects 12 April 2010
By Mauve - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Insectopedia is an intriguing study of the human world through its relationships with insects. Why do we have such a visceral revulsion to cockroaches, but not (for example) ladybugs? What does the intricate communication methods of bees (physical movement), pine beetles (auditory), and ants (chemical) say about our verbal language? How does a fly process visual information -- and can we ever really "see" from another creature's viewpoint?

Particularly interesting chapters include a first hand account of Chinese cricket fighting, the history of the theory of evolution through insect study, and the amazing chapter about honeybee dances -- great cocktail party fodder! Did you know researchers can translate bees' dances into coordinates (as in, "there's a great stash of spilled jam 90 yards to the southeast")? Who *doesn't* find this stuff fascinating?!

The author is an anthropologist, not an entomologist. If you're looking for a simple guide to insects, this is not the book you're looking for. But if you're curious about how the worlds of insects and humans collide, Insectopedia is an interesting read. You know that insects outnumber humans by some 200 million to one, right? I, for one, welcome the knowledge about our future insect overlords.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Insectopedia is an ingenious, original book 1 April 2010
By Toni Schlesinger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Insectopedia is an ingenious, original book by brilliant scholar and writer that goes deep
into a miniature world that reflects and philosophizes on just about everything in the human size world.
Insectopedia gives the reader all at once the spirit of l9th century delirious excitement, modernist story telling,
highly sophisticated humor in the telling, and an incisive journalistic account of particular places that few have gone to.
Hugh Raffles' writing and the accounts of his mysterious journeys are a pure and absolute pleasure to read.

--- Toni Schlesinger
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I love this book 4 May 2010
By T. Millin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. Such an unusual, creative, and interesting way to think about the world - examining human life through our relationships with insects. There are so many fascinating stories here and they take you all over the world, to meet people in China, Japan, Africa, Switzerland, and other places and discover their lives through their unusual and intriguing connections to insects. Along the way, I learned not only many new facts about both people and insects but also, and this is no exaggeration, a new way of looking at the world and its inhabitants, human and animal. And a fun read to boot!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
fun and exciting read 13 May 2010
By Alexa Johansson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a great, funny, well-written and engaging book. No, it's not a true encyclopedia, but instead jumps all over the place, throughout time and across continents and illustrates just a tiny fraction of the fascinating things there are to learn about the insect world. It was fun to read and kept me turning the pages to find out what else there was to learn.
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