Tales from the Ant World (Hardcover)
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Edward O. Wilson recalls his lifetime with ants—from his first boyhood encounters in the woods of Alabama to perilous journeys into the Brazilian rainforest.
“ Ants are the most warlike of all animals, with colony pitted against colony. . . . Their clashes dwarf Waterloo and Gettysburg,” writes Edward O. Wilson in his most finely observed work in decades. In a myrmecological tour to such far-flung destinations as Mozambique and New Guinea, the Gulf of Mexico’s Dauphin Island and even his parents’ overgrown yard back in Alabama, Wilson thrillingly evokes his nine-decade-long scientific obsession with more than 15,000 ant species. Wryly observing that “males are little more than flying sperm missiles” or that ants send their “little old ladies into battle,” Wilson eloquently relays his brushes with fire, army, and leafcutter ants, as well as more exotic species: the Matabele, Africa’s fiercest warrior ants; Costa Rica’s Basiceros, the slowest ants in the world; and New Caledonia’s Myrmecia apicalis, the most endangered of them all. A personal account by one of our greatest scientists, Tales from the Ant World is an indispensable volume for any lover of the natural world.
About the Author
Edward O. Wilson is the author of more than thirty books, including Anthill, a novel, and The Meaning of Human Existence, a finalist for the National Book Award. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University and lives with his wife, Irene, in Lexington, Massachusetts.
The world-renowned ant expert cleans out his desk, which—no surprise—contains many gems.... Pulitzer Prize–winning author and naturalist Wilson’s writing on broader scientific subjects have won him awards and no lack of controversy. Now 90, largely retired from fieldwork and scholarship but an indefatigable writer, he has assembled scraps of autobiography and anecdotes on his favorite insect.... the content and quality of the writing is consistently top-notch.
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
[Wilson] delivers an illuminating work filled with insights into his specialty subject: ants. . . . Wilson’s passion for his subject, for the scientific method, and for the natural world comes through clearly in this enjoyable survey.