Read This Book: The Tangled Tree

tree book review

All history books should start like The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life (Simon & Schuster 2019). David Quammen’s groundbreaking work sweeps across reams of real, scientific data to answer the questions: What are the role of humans and animals in this cosmic wonder we call life?

Here at Sentient Media, we believe there are stories to tell from the intersections of human and animal lives. We hope to articulate them in precisely the right way, the most compelling way. Many times, putting a finger on that relationship is hard, but we’re reminded that the evidence humans leave behind is as strong, if not stronger, than that of the natural world. Human activity, like animal activity, can be as precise and objective as you want it to be.

As Quammen puts it, “It’s a process, not a body of facts or laws. Like music, like poetry, like baseball, like grandmaster chess, it’s something gloriously imperfect that people do.” That process is exactly what this radical new history of life explains in beautiful, often charmingly pinpointed detail.

Bottom line: Part history of life, part life philosophy, The Tangled Tree marks a new chapter in the creative exploration of everything from the first sketch of life to the discovery of DNA. The tree of life has never looked so full of leaves.