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The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us Hardcover – 13 Sep 2004


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (13 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719564093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719564093
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 20.7 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Richly informative and beautifully written (The Times)

A light and delicious book, in an exceptionally pretty honey-coloured jacket gilded with bees, and it is written with sparkle and charm ... some of her best writing is about the deliciousness of honey, and it is hard to read her chapter of recipes without drooling. (The Tablet)

Bee Wilson's little book is a small hive of treasure. It is a sweet celebration of our appreciation of the honeybee (Dumfries and Galloway Standard)

She manages to present a great deal of information in a form as easy to swallow as a spoonful of honey. (Tom Fort, Sunday Telegraph)

Entertaining and thoroughly worthwhile (The Sunday Times)

Wonderfully entertaining reading. (The Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society)

Can hardly be bettered. (Guardian)

A fascinating tribute to the bee (Woman & Home)

Fascinating, careful, witty and intelligent ... Almost any paragraph chosen at random is entertaining (Prue Leith, New Statesman)

Wilson presents the history of the honeybee in this engaging and anecdote-filled account (Publishing News)

A gem of a book. (The Bookseller)

Fascinating (Humphrey Carpenter, Sunday Times)

Buzzes with info and has the prettiest dust-jacket of the third millennium (Barry Humphries, Sunday Telegraph)

A charming, fascinating pot-pourri of all things beelike (Bookseller)

'Bee Wilson conveys a real sense of the relationship between bees and us, and her short, punchy chapters are witty and fascinating' (Easy Living)

Endlessly fascinating (Mail on Sunday)

Erudite, informative, accurate and a delight to read. (Times Literary Supplement)

'This is the Christmas book with a real sting.' (Saga)

'Beautifully produced and well-researched ...leaving readers to marvel'. (Good Book Guide)

This biography is immensely detailed, intelligent, generous, sympathetic, and often entertaining...Betjeman fans...will delight in Hillier's monumental work (Literary Review)

'Wilson has a fine eye for character sketches.' (The Times)

'For a moment you may feel, as I did, that part of Wilson's research for this book involved turning into a bee for a few days ... Amazing.' -- Nick Lezard (Guardian)

'There are delights and surprises on virtually every page of this gem of a book' (Sunday Telegraph)

'Wilson's sprightly hymn to the honeybee ... conveys ... the marvel, complexity and ultimate unknowability that has made the beehive such a fascination' (Independent)

'A riveting read . . .this beguiling book is more a history of ideas than an actual study . . .buzzing with fascinating facts' (BBC Gardener's World Magazine)

'Bee Wilson recounts all the weird and wonderful things people have believed about bees.' (History Today)

'Juicy reading ... worth buying for the illustration on p. 204 alone.' (The Spectator)

'Bee Wilson... connects readers' imaginations with their salivary glands.' (New Statesman)

'A brilliant examination of a natural phenomenon we all take for granted' (Sunday Express)

'Delightful' (Economist)

'Fascinating and readable. Wilson writes with flair and wit about everything from Pliny to pollination; her love of honey in all its sheer sensuousness shines through' (Scotsman)

'Fascinating and readable. Wilson writes with flair and wit about everything from Pliny to pollination; her love of honey in all its sheer sensuousness shines through' (Tom Fort, Sunday Telegraph)

'Beautifully written and absorbing' (New Statesman)

'Can hardly be bettered ... Principally a writer on food, Wilson none the less knows a lot about keeping honeybees, and also about their biology and natural history, waxworks and candles, and the changing shape of the beehive.' (The Guardian)

Book Description

With a cast of characters from Alexander the Great to Mohammed Ali, this is the story of the inspiring and passionate relationship between bees, their hive and the human world

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Dec. 2004
Format: Hardcover
People who already have an interest in bees and bee-keeping will enjoy "The Hive". But I've never been near a bee-hive, and I was totally gripped. "The Hive" is really more about people than about bees. It's the story of how different cultures through the ages have seen bee hives as a model for human society. The book is divided up into short thematic sections, on things like Sex, Politics and Life and Death. It's always readable, and often very funny; there is a hilarious picture of a bee-keeper wearing a bee beard. , Wilson's touch is always light, but her book makes an important argument about the ways human beings impose their own vision onto the lives of animals. It will be of interest both to political theorists and to those interested in animal rights and animal welfare. "The Hive" is a very pretty book, which also includes some nice honey recipes. It would make a great gift, but you might want to get a copy for yourself, too!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 17 July 2005
Format: Hardcover
Moving to a city meant abandoning my bees. The loss of truly fresh honey was aggravating by wondering if the bees "knew" me and felt the absence. Such feelings are examined in historical detail in this delightful book. "Bee" [Beatrice] Wilson's career as a food journalist has provided an excellent background for this history. She has a talent for reaching a wide audience, with a good balance for history, personality and shared interests. It's almost impossible to finish this account without wanting to rush to Paris' Maison du Miel [or its local quivalent] and browse through the selection of honey sitting on the shelves waiting to pleasure your palate.
The title is an indicator - how we've related to bees, their habits and their delicious product has a long history. Bees are the one social animal we've had a deep relationship with. They've provided templates to explain or guide human society - although we've been almost always wrong in how their society forms and operates. Early civilisations viewed them as warrior monarchies, ruled by a "king" driving, or being supported by, a soldier caste. Wilson examines six areas where humans have dealt with bees as their counterparts: work, sex, politics, food and drink, life and death. In their most intimate relationship, she adds the beekeeper as her conclusion.
Wilson explains how early commentators viewed the drone-worker relationship as symbolic of human society. Even today's leading British entomologist, Francis Ratnieks, compares the partitioning of roles to "the efficiency of the modern supermarket". The hive is actually superior in that it needs no central management to control events. The constant activity, however, has led many societies to adopt the hive as a symbol of "industriousness".
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Dec. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I'm studying politics at university and I don't usually have much time for outside reading. But my aunt gave me this book as an early christmas present, and I read it straight away. It really caught my attention. There's lots of interesting stories, like about how they used to think bees were all male even the Queen. It shows you how the politics of the time affected how they saw the bees. Now I'm making some of the honey cake recipes. It's a really nice book, it teaches you a lot about the past but not in a heavy way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hall on 16 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gripping read for anyone interested in the history of mans interaction and affinity with bees.
In depth information covering all aspects of how bees have affected human archaeology etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marina J. Cawley on 12 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
This was a birthday present for a friend and she appears to be absolutly delighted with Bee Wilson's book. Very informative easy to read.
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