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  • Superb biography of remarkable scientist

    This is a superb biography of Alexander von Humboldt, the brilliant German scientist and explorer whose expertise covered a huge range of modern scientific disciplines, and who did pioneering work in many of them. In his explorations, particularly in South America, he was willing to endure considerable hardship and risk his life. In his scientific work, among many other things he anticipated continental drift and plate tectonics; laid much of the basis of ecology and environmental science; and helped to develop climatology and biogeography. He was able to combine an understanding of the details of individual features of our world with an appreciation of how the natural world as a whole interacts and is in a permanent state of change. He was a major influence on Darwin, Thoreau and many others. Throughout his life he opposed absolutism in government and also slavery. This very readable but thoroughly researched biography depicts the man, with all his eccentricities and faults, describes his explorations and scientific work, and, in the latter part, his influence on others. It is a tribute to a very remarkable man.

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  • A stimulating read

    A scholarly, engaging review of an extraordinary life. The author leads us through Humboldt's remarkable career, and demonstrates how his work stimulated the development of evolutionary theory, ecology and the conservation movement, to name just a few of the areas of intellectual endeavour he influenced. A must read.

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  • The Invention of Nature

    The brilliance of this book begins with its title and never flags. Andrea Wolf has (like so many other Humboldtian devotees) become enamoured by his revolutionary insights that traverse time and space to reveal themselves as universal truths - all things connected. Such a good and important book that should make essential reading in the early years of higher education - before the disciplines take hold of a course of study; narrowing the way we see the 'invention of nature'.

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