Another book I just recently finished was Rob Dunn’s masterfully crafted “Every Living Thing: Man’s Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys.” One word could describe this book, impressive. Dunn’s control of language and narrative flow is rarely seen in popular science books. Through the common thread of human’s quest to find, describe, and name unknown life, he weaves together stories and anecdotes from around the globe, through history, across science personalities, and covering the amazing diversity of life. The last is the most impressive as Dunn discusses taxa from nanobacteria, ants, plants, and hydrothermal vent clams. The development of characters, scientists striving to understand life, really sets this book apart. The chapter on Linnaeus, a rather loathsome character, is worth the purchase alone. If you are interested in biodiversity and how it is described then this is a must read. If you teach a biodiversity class this should be required reading.
I eagerly await Dunn’s new book “The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Our Evolution” due mid-2011