A grand tour through the hidden realms of animal senses that will transform the way you perceive the world – from the Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling author of I Contain Multitudes.
The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every animal is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of an immense world. This book welcomes us into a previously unfathomable dimension – the world as it is truly perceived by other animals.
We encounter beetles that are drawn to fires, turtles that can track the Earth's magnetic fields, fish that fill rivers with electrical messages, and humans that wield sonar like bats. We discover that a crocodile's scaly face is as sensitive as a lover's fingertips, that the eyes of a giant squid evolved to see sparkling whales, that plants thrum with the inaudible songs of courting bugs, and that even simple scallops have complex vision. We learn what bees see in flowers, what songbirds hear in their tunes, and what dogs smell on the street. We listen to stories of pivotal discoveries in the field, while looking ahead at the many mysteries which lie unsolved.
In An Immense World, author and acclaimed science journalist Ed Yong coaxes us beyond the confines of our own senses, allowing us to perceive the skeins of scent, waves of electromagnetism, and pulses of pressure that surround us. Because in order to understand our world we don't need to travel to other places; we need to see through other eyes.
Ed Yong is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist who reports for The Atlantic. His work has also featured in National Geographic, the New Yorker, Wired, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American, and many other publications. His first book, I Contain Multitudes, was a New York Times bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Prize. Ed's TED talk on mind-controlling parasites has been watched by over 1.5 million people.
"A delight [...] it prompts a radical rethink about the limits of what we know – what the world is, even. It is quite a book. And, I felt, putting it down, quite a world"
– Sunday Times
"Full of extraordinary discoveries [...] an encyclopaedic, rigorously researched journey [...] recasts the world in breath-taking, bewildering immensity"
– Daily Telegraph
"A magic well of surprising, enlightening discoveries about the sensory worlds of other species [...] A brilliant book, marvellous and mesmerizing"
– Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Genius of Birds
"I love this book. Reading it is a delightful sensory experience [...] I truly enjoyed Yong's adventures in Wonderland!"
– Gaia Vince, author of Transcendence
"A stunning achievement – steeped in science but suffused with magic"
– Siddhartha Mukherjee, author The Emperor of All Maladies
"Magnificent – an unbelievably immersive and mind-blowing account of how other animals experience our world"
– Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees and The Inner Life of Animals
"Like stepping into a new kind of Alice in Wonderland. The perfect mixture of revelation, curiosity, science, beautiful prose and buckets full of wonders"
– Andrea Wulf, author of The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
"A cornucopia of wonders [...] a fascinating reminder of the humbling truth that most of what happens among life forms on Earth is beyond our ken"
– David Quammen, author of Spillover
"An expansive, constantly revelatory exploration of the biosphere's sensorium [...] Ed Yong is my favourite contemporary science writer"
– William Gibson, author of Neuromancer and The Peripheral
"A journal of discovery and animal magic, a sensory exploration that is a joy to read"
– Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief
"Every page finds the reader mouthing quiet whoa's, as the world she thought she knew opens out into a hundred others, improbable, strange, and fabulous."
– Mary Roach, author of Fuzz and Stiff
"An Immense World took my hand and brought me on a journey I'll never forget. After reading this book, I'll never look at our planet the same way again"
– Clint Smith, author of How the Word is Passed
"A whirlwind tour of animal perceptual abilities. A magnificent book"
– Frans de Waal, author of Different: Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist
"A tour of places that are, in essence, unknowable [...] Yet Yong [...] proves an outstanding guide [...] Beautifully written and painstakingly researched [...] this fantastic book leaves you wondering what else is left to be discovered"
– The Times, Book of the Week
"Both eye-opening and humbling"
– Radio Times
"Remarkable [...] a delight, a book that prompts awe at the world around us"
– Sunday Times, Summer Reads of 2022