Children around the world know that to tell how old a tree is, you count its rings. Few people, however, know that research into tree rings has also made amazing contributions to our understanding of Earth's climate history and its influences on human civilization over the past 2,000 years. In her captivating new book, Tree Story, Valerie Trouet reveals how the seemingly simple and relatively familiar concept of counting tree rings has inspired far-reaching scientific breakthroughs that illuminate the complex interactions between nature and people.
Trouet, a leading tree-ring scientist, takes us out into the field, from remote African villages to radioactive Russian forests, offering readers an insider's look at tree-ring research, a discipline formally known as dendrochronology. Tracing her own professional journey while exploring dendrochronology's history and applications, Trouet describes the basics of how tell-tale tree cores are collected and dated with ring-by-ring precision, explaining the unexpected and momentous insights we've gained from the resulting samples.
Blending popular science, travelogue, and cultural history, Tree Story highlights exciting findings of tree-ring research, including the fate of lost pirate treasure, successful strategies for surviving California wildfire, the secret to Genghis Khan's victories, the connection between Egyptian pharaohs and volcanoes, and even the role of olives in the fall of Rome. These fascinating tales are deftly woven together to show us how dendrochronology sheds light on global climate dynamics and uncovers the clear links between humans and our leafy neighbors. Trouet delights us with her dedication to the tangible appeal of studying trees, a discipline that has taken her to austere and beautiful landscapes around the globe and has enabled scientists to solve long-pondered mysteries of Earth and its human inhabitants.
Johns Hopkins University Press
Country of Publication:
15 May 2020
From 18 years
Professional and scholarly
AcknowledgmentsPrologueChapter 1. Trees in the Desert Chapter 2. I Count the Rings Down in AfricaChapter 3. Adonis, Methusaleh, and PrometheusChapter 4. And the Tree Was HappyChapter 5. The Messiah, the Plague, and Shipwrecks under the CityChapter 6. The Hockey Stick Poster ChildChapter 7. Wind of ChangeChapter 8. Winter Is Coming Chapter 9. Three Tree-Ring Scientists Walk into a BarChapter 10. Ghosts, Orphans, and ExtraterrestrialsChapter 11. Disintegration, or The Fall of RomeChapter 12. It's the End of the World as We Know ItChapter 13. Once upon a Time in the WestChapter 14. Will the Wind Ever Remember?Chapter 15. After the Gold RushChapter 16. The Forest for the TreesPlaylistList of Tree SpeciesRecommended ReadingGlossaryBibliographyIndex
Valerie Trouet is an associate professor in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona.
Reviews for Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings
An accomplished and globally recognized dendroclimatologist, Trouet is knowledgeable across diverse fields of science and is a talented writer and engaging storyteller . . . Drawing from a diversity of tree-ring research and interdisciplinary collaborations, Trouet chronicles fascinating examples of how dendrochronology helps to answer questions about past environments and human history. -- Lori Daniels * Science * Trouet writes that the purpose of this book is to excite people about science, and she succeeds by creating an engaging, credible work sprinkled with anecdotes . . . With this brief, accessible look at the wisdom of tree rings, Trouet draws readers into a narrative that clearly displays her joy for her work and offers some fun with word play. * Library Journal *
- Winner of Jan Wolkers Prize 2020 (United States)