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Sweetness and Light: The Mysterious History of the Honey Bee Hardcover – 5 Jul 2004
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'A charming insight into the sweetness and dark side of the honeybee' -- Observer
'Entertaining and thoroughly worthwhile' -- John Carey, The Sunday Times
'Entrancing anecdotes, accurate details and meticulous research add up to a sweetly satisfying read' -- Publishers Weekly
'Like the densely packed honeycomb of the hive, her book is jam-packed with information, ideas, stories and questions ... fascinating' -- Independent
'Richly informative and beautifully written' -- The Times
The been is the most studied creature on the planet after man, and down the ages this insect and its honey have been harnessed by doctors, philosophers, scientists, politicians, artists, writers and architects as both metaphor and material. In her buzzing narrative, Hattie Ellis tells how all these people have found inspiration in the honey bee. We also discover some of the mysterious ways of bees - how they can make up to 24,000 journeys to produce a pound of honey, with each bee producing one teaspoonful in a lifetime; we see how, charmingly, they communicate by dances; and we look under the lid of the hive to find as many as 100,000 bees living and working in total discipline. But we witness their dark side, too - such as the savage, untamed energy of the swarms of killer African bees that are sweeping through America. We also explore some of the many unsolved questions surrounding the honey bee, some of them at the very cutting edge of contemporary medical research. Why did European honey bees stay in their hives as Chernobyl spread its toxic dust? And does honey, itself immortal, aid longevity? The bee existed long before man; and without bees, we would soon start to die.Hattie Ellis shows us how this small insect can tell us more about ourselves than any other living creature. See all Product description
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26 January 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The book arrived on Thursday January 16th 2014. It was in good condition and the packaging was very good. Overall I was reasonably pleased with the product but as it took so long to reach me, I had little time to read it for my next book club meeting. Had I known it would take nearly three weeks to come I would not have purchased this.
3 July 2005
The title comes from a quote by Jonathan Swift, that by filling their hives with honey and wax, honey bees give mankind two of the noblest of things - sweetness and light. Ellis explores the bee in history, includes a little biology and the bee in art. But the chapters which really enraptured me were about the rediscovery of the benefits of honey, descriptions of Parisian honey shops and New York apiarists and the sad distance between ourselves and our world and the bleak future we have handed these miraculous and mysterious fellow creatures through pesticides. A thoughtful, charming book.
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