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Entangled Life

by Merlin Sheldrake

Debut Books of the Month Debuts Popular Science Star Books The Real World

LoveReading View on Entangled Life

Truly fascinating, this is one of the most surprising books I’ve read in a while. Seriously, I could rave on and on about it! Journey to what feels like an entirely different planet and explore the wonder of fungi. “Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live...Yet they live their lives largely hidden from view , and over 90% if their species remain undocumented.” Author Merlin Sheldrake caught and held my attention from the outset. I had to stop reading every so often just to contemplate the world that was opening up in front of me. I still feel gobsmacked days after reading it. Fungi has shaped our history and “the ability of fungi to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in breakthrough technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‘wood wide web’, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems.” Entangled Life made me reconsider established thoughts and opened my eyes to new ones. I want to recommend it to everyone, for me it’s a genuine must-read and just had to be included on my list of Liz Picks of the Month and as a LoveReading Star Book.

Liz Robinson

Entangled Life Synopsis

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.

Entangled Life Press Reviews

This engaging book shines light on the hidden fungal connections that link plants, trees, and us. Sheldrake is a rare scientist who is not afraid to speculate about the truly profound implications of his work. A very good read -- ANDREW WEIL, author of True Food

You may never look at fungi in the same way... Entangled Life is an eye-opening exploration of this mysterious taxonomic kingdom... a journey into an untapped world. It is both a wonderful collection of fungal feats... and a personal account of Sheldrake's experiences with these miraculous organisms - New Scientist

A triumph and a thing of vast beauty -- TOM HODGKINSON, The Idler

Entangled Life is a remarkable book that manages to be at once scholarly, visionary and a deeply engaging and enjoyable read. It provides a new and penetrating analysis of the fungal kingdom of life that will be a greatly enriching read for all students of the living world -- Dr IAN HENDERSON, Lecturer in Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

This is an adventurous and indeed daring book, opening several unfamiliar micro-domains in the organic life world and its multiple connections. There is much to be learned in this wide field, and this vivid, scrupulous guide points the way -- J. H. PRYNNE

Unputdownable, this extraordinary work explores the awesome range of activities of fungi: enabling the first life on land; interacting in countless ways with other life forms; shaping human history and potentially safeguarding our future. At once rigorously scientific and boldly imaginative, it raises fundamental questions about the many natures of life on Earth -- NICK JARDINE, Emeritus Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

I was completely unprepared for Sheldrake's book. It rolled over me like a tsunami, leaving the landscape rearranged but all the more beautiful -- NICHOLAS HUMPHREY, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, LSE, author of Soul Dust

Fungi are everywhere, and Merlin Sheldrake is an ideal guide to their mysteries. He's passionate, deeply knowledgeable and a wonderful writer -- ELIZABETH KOLBERT, author of The Sixth Extinction

It is impossible to put this book down. Entangled Life provides a window into the mind-boggling biology and fascinating cultures surrounding fungal life, as well as fungi's innumerable uses in materials, medicine and ecology. Sheldrake asks us to consider a life-form that is radically alien to ours, yet vibrant and lively underfoot -- HANS ULRICH OBRIST

A magical journey deep into the roots of Nature. Merlin is an expert storyteller, weaving the tale of our co-evolution with fungi into a scientific adventure. Entangled Life is a must read for citizen scientists hoping to make a positive difference on this sacred planet we share -- PAUL STAMETS, author of Mycelium Running

Sheldrake's charm and curiosity makes for a book that is delightful to read, but also grand and dizzying in how thoroughly it recalibrates our understanding of the natural world, and the often-overlooked organisms within it -- ED YONG, author of I Contain Multitudes

Reading this book, I felt surrounded by a web of wonder. The natural world is more fantastic than any fantasy, so long as you have the means to perceive it. This book provides the means -- JARON LANIER, author of Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

Entangled Life is a revelation. It is a radical, hopeful and important book and I couldn't put it down. With elegance, wit and clarity Sheldrake engages us in the hidden world of fungi, a miraculous web of connections, interactions and communication that changes the way we need to look at life, the planet and ourselves -- ISABELLA TREE, author of Wilding

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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781847925190
Publication date: 03/09/2020
Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781847925190
Publication date: 3rd September 2020
Author: Merlin Sheldrake
Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 368 pages
Genres: Debuts of the Month, Debuts, Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month, Popular Science, Star Books, The Real World,
Categories: Mycology, fungi (non-medical), Botany & plant sciences, Trees, wildflowers & plants, Zoology & animal sciences,

About Merlin Sheldrake

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. Find Merlin on Twitter @MerlinSheldrake And on Instagram @merlin.sheldrake

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