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About The Book

'A heartwarming guide to these fascinating giants of nature . . . A book that is full of surprises . . . Highly empathetic and informative' Independent

'A global arboreal odyssey' Guardian


Twelve amazing species of trees that can teach us about our past, present and future.

In Twelve Trees, professor Daniel Lewis takes us around the world – from Australia to the United States, from Easter Island and Mexico to Cameroon – and introduces us to twelve tree species that epitomise the many threats faced by our planet, from climate change, poachers and parasites, to fungi and even elephants. He celebrates their many strengths in the face of adversity, and their enduring abilities to survive – and even thrive – in an increasingly dangerous planet.

Trees are essential to all of our lives – and they need our help. In this incredible tribute to the noble tree, Lewis dives deep into the cutting-edge science and inspiring community efforts helping to keep them alive. Saving the tree, as he argues, means the saving of humanity.

Beautifully written and informative, Twelve Trees is a heartwarming and enlightening guide to some of our most fascinating trees – and why we should be working harder to protect them.

About The Author

Dana Barsuhn, Huntington Library

Daniel Lewis is the Dibner Senior Curator for the History of Science and Technology at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in Southern California, and a writer, college professor, and environmental historian. He writes about the biological sciences and their intersections with extinction, policy, culture, history, politics, law, and literature. Lewis holds the PhD in history and has held post-doctoral fellowships at Oxford, the Smithsonian, the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, and elsewhere. Lewis also serves on the faculty at Caltech, where he teaches environmental humanities courses, as well as at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He is also currently serving a five-year term on the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, as a Bird Red List Authority member. His previous books include Belonging on an Island: Birds, Extinction, and Evolution in Hawai’i and The Feathery Tribe: Robert Ridgway and the Modern Study of Birds.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (July 4, 2024)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398518841

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Raves and Reviews

'A heartwarming guide to these fascinating giants of nature . . . A book that is full of surprises . . . [A] highly empathetic and informative study'

– Independent

A global arboreal odyssey . . . Lewis considers our urge to both conserve and consume. His journey takes him around the world to ponder the beauty of twelve tree species, mostly the magnificent and often vulnerable . . . He charms with occasional flights of ecstasy’

– Guardian

'Lewis, author of The Feathery Tribe, could not have chosen a group of trees more biologically and culturally fascinating than this variously endangered dozen… [Lewis] offers a meticulous survey of these species, as well as their personal histories and importance... He deals with the complexities of conservation efforts (and resistance to them) with an even hand, and the book is as rigorous as it is readable … A well-informed, staunch defense of trees’ capacity to multiply biodiversity and support life on Earth'

– Kirkus

Twelve Trees is a remarkable adventure that takes us from the heights of the redwood canopy to the craters of Easter Island and the depths of the Congo Basin, using cutting-edge science and personal stories to explain the ways these incredible trees shape our world’

– Eric Rutkow, author of American Canopy

Daniel Lewis channels the wisdom of twelve of the planet’s most eloquent teachers – the oldest, the tallest, and even the extinct – to share their deep time lessons with us. With the precision of a scientist, the skill of a historian, and the voice of a poet, Lewis speaks for the trees. If we listen, we will grow to love these twelve trees deeply, and come to recognize how closely our own lives and fates are linked to theirs’

– Melanie Choukas-Bradley, author of City of Trees

‘This highly readable and informative celebration of trees stands out in the forest of books about them. “No tree is an island,” declares the author, backing this up by exploring the infinite interactions of a dozen well-chosen trees in the web of life on Earth which connects all living things. In an era of rapid environmental change, we and the trees share the same future and must face our fate together. The perspectives and wisdom offered here will inspire greater respect – not just for trees, but for all of nature

– Stephen Blackmore, His Majesty's Botanist and author of How Plants Work

Rarely have I read a book that so seamlessly interweaves science and sensibility. If you are interested in trees, you will love this book. If you are not interested in trees, this book will show you why you should be

– Naomi Oreskes, co-author of Merchants of Doubt and The Big Myth

As Daniel Lewis elegantly illustrates, trees are basic material and precious resource; refugees and invaders; recorders, victims, and perhaps solvers of the changing climate. In every case, Lewis argues, they are a mirror back on humanity and its often fraught relationship with the wider world’

– Zach St. George, author of The Journey of Trees

'A book that brims with wonder, appreciation, and even some small hope'

– Booklist

'This enlightening book is very informative, combining science and wonder and giving hope for the future'

– Press Association

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