Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures

£20.00 £17.95

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Vintage Publishing Pages: 368 Language: English ISBN: 9781847925190 Categories: , , , , , , , , , Tags: ,

There is a lifeform so strange and wondrous that it forces us to rethink how life works… Neither plant nor animal, it is found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. It can be microscopic, yet also accounts for the largest organism ever recorded – covering ten square kilometres, weighing 35,000 tons and estimated to be over 2,000 years old. Its ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land, and for 40 million years its towering structures dominated earth’s landscape. It can survive unprotected in space, and thrives amidst nuclear radiation.

It can solve problems without a brain, stretching traditional definitions of ‘intelligence’, and can manipulate animal behaviour in astonishing and often unsettling ways that we struggle to explain. The discovery that it connects plants in large collaborative networks, the ‘Wood Wide Web’, is transforming our understanding of how non-animal life works. In giving humans bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, it has changed our species’ history, while its ability to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies. Its psychedelic properties, which have shaped cultures since antiquity, have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses. And yet most of its millions of species remain undocumented.

In Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake introduces the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that have made our world, and continue to shape our futures.

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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 Few books blew my mind like Merlin Sheldrake's Entangled Life. The research, passion, writing, insights ... Not sure if I've ever learned so much from ONE book. Here is to another scientist who celebrates imagination. Essential reading. Go and get swept up in a new world -- ANDREA WULF, author of The Invention of Nature 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 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 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 Wondrous ... an astonishing book that could alter our perceptions of fungi for ever. It seems somehow to tip the natural world upside down -- Rachel Cooke * Observer * Reads like an adventure story ... wondrous ... beguilingly weaves together lived experience and scientific research -- John Carey * Sunday Times * After this book, nothing will seem the same again ... beautifully written and illustrated ... dazzling ... reveals a world that's both more extraordinary and more delicate than could be imagined * Mail on Sunday * The lives of fungi alone are fascinating, but the questions and wider implications that Sheldrake teases out from them are often truly astounding ... an engrossing, captivating journey ... rigorous, comprehensive, perspective-altering ... if this book is any indication, [Sheldrake] has an exciting career in not only science but also literature ahead of him * Spectator * Entangled Life is gorgeous! Enjoying it very much! Despair of the future of life on earth? Never mind, there will be fungus among us. One way or another -- MARGARET ATWOOD (on Twitter) 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 * Mind-boggling... [Sheldrake] is nothing if not a participatory researcher into his subject and one with a winning sense of humour... it might be a good time to give thanks for this humble lifeform's effect on our lives... It's tempting... to see fungi as the biological model for a better world * Telegraph ***** * A joy ... a captivating trip into the weird and wonderful mycorrhizal world around us - and inside us ... full of startling revelations * Daily Mail * Riveting and surprising at every turn ... a sensory as well as an intellectual pleasure ... we owe a great debt to Sheldrake for lifting his eyes from the microscope for long enough to enlighten us about the wonders of fungi -- Tim Flannery * New Statesman * 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 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 This book is like one surprise after another -- DAVID BYRNE I love him and I love his book Entangled Life. It's absolutely lovely -- RUSSELL BRAND 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 I have been working on and reading and writing about fungi for a decade. And yet, nearly every page of this book contained either an observation so interesting or a turn of phrase so lovely that I was moved to slow down, stop, and reread ... This book rocked me into remembering that nature, especially fungal nature, is big and encompassing and creative and destructive. It reminded me that fungi are, like the Universe, sublime -- Rob Dunn * Science *

Author Biography

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