ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- I've always been interested in the visible manifestations of fungi, mushrooms and toadstools and lichens, and what little I knew of mycorrhizal fungi was intriguing. But until I read this fabulous book I didn't know a fraction of how surprising the fungal kingdom is - and it turns out that even scientists actually have only a fraction of understanding about this amazing - and dominant - life-form!
This book is a vivid blend of personal anecdote, astonishing tales (I reckon the zombie insects will haunt my nightmares!) fascinating explanations, eye-opening concepts and extremely thorough and rigorous scientific reportage. It is exhaustively footnoted and while Sheldrake is obviously passionate about his subject, he takes no sides on the various debates raging through the world of mycology, but presents all arguments calmly and clearly. It is a book to re-read, as the ideas are so extraordinary and the writing so engaging that it will repay multiple reads.
This should do for fungi, what Wohlleben did for trees (and dare I say, it's much better written) - I don't think anyone who reads this will ever look at fungi in the same way again! Lindy Jones
'A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer' Robert Macfarlane, author of Underland
The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.
Neither plant nor animal, they are found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. They can be microscopic, yet also account for the largest organisms ever recorded. They enabled the first life on land, can survive unprotected in space and thrive amidst nuclear radiation. In fact, nearly all life relies in some way on fungi. These endlessly surprising organisms have no brain but can solve problems and manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses. Their ability to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the 'Wood Wide Web', is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented. Entangled Life is a mind-altering journey into a spectacular and neglected world, and shows that fungi provide a key to understanding both the planet on which we live, and life itself.
'One of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you. Astounding' Helen MacDonald, author of H Is for Hawk
Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer. He received a Ph.D. in Tropical Ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a musician and keen fermenter. Entangled Life is his first book. www.merlinsheldrake.com Find Merlin on Twitter @MerlinSheldrake And on Instagram @merlin.sheldrake
Brilliant ... entrancing ... when we look closely [at fungi], we meet large, unsettling questions ... Merlin Sheldrake ... carries us easily into these questions with ebullience and precision ... challenging some of our deepest assumptions ... A 'door-opener' book is one with a specialist subject in which it finds pathways leading everywhere ... Sheldrake's book is a very fine example * Guardian * I fell in love with this book. Merlin is a scientist with the imagination of a poet and a beautiful writer ... This is a book that, by virtue of the power of its writing, shifts your sense of the human ... It will inspire a generation to enter mycology -- MICHAEL POLLAN (Bay Area Book Festival, 2020) A true masterpiece, a thrilling and fascinating insight into the living world, beautifully written, entertaining, funny and inspiring, while representing the science carefully and responsibly. I hope and trust that it will become an instant classic -- GEORGE MONBIOT One of those rare books that can truly change the way you see the world around you, Entangled Life is a mercurial, revelatory, impassioned, urgent, astounding, and necessary read. It's fearless in scope, analytically astute, and brimming with infectious joy -- HELEN MACDONALD, author of H is for Hawk A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. Sentence after sentence stopped me short. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world - the secrets of which modern science is only now beginning to fathom - and the earth-shaking, hierarchy-breaking implications of Sheldrake's argument. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer -- Robert MacFarlane, author of Underland