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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every school student should read and discuss this book - the ideas matter so much, 6 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet (Paperback)
This is a big book. A good couple of weeks' worth of holiday reading. Some chapters contain more actual science than my MA degree course in botany did, but you're not going to be examined on it so you don't need to commit to memory. You can still read through without picking up and remembering all the details.

It is a unique and fundamental primer of the earth, its history and where we fit into the picture, the most entertaining and unputdownable that I have ever read. With huge implications for technology in the future, I challenge sixth form students to read this book and not want to be part of the new plant science revolution. Biology now joins physics as exciting atomic-level science; the only science that will feed the world.

Yes, there is the odd mistake not discovered by editors (the Kew botanist J Hooker is Joseph, not John.) And I got very cross with his teleology - he implies that human progress needed the change from hunter gatherer to cereal eater. He doesn't discuss the downside of this, the move to enslaving and 'farming' people for tax and labour inside villages, and depriving them of the old right to find free food or land to raise food. But it's an interesting point this, that without carbon dioxide levels rising in the old stone age from their low levels 18000 years ago, grasses like wheat and rice would not yield enough to be worth growing and eating.

Give this book to every young person as a bluffer's guide to the earth and everything on it; and as a brilliant introduction to science, to conservation, to the possible futures of your life. It's a very readable, enthralling account of life and everything.
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