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Trees are one of humanity's most constant and most varied companions. From India's sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup.
In Around the World in 80 Trees, expert Jonathan Drori uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable. Stops on the trip include the lime trees of Berlin's Unter den Linden boulevard, which intoxicate amorous Germans and hungry bees alike, the swankiest streets in nineteenth-century London, which were paved with Australian eucalyptus wood, and the redwood forests of California, where the secret to the trees' soaring heights can be found in the properties of the tiniest drops of water.
Each of these strange and true tales – populated by self-mummifying monks, tree-climbing goats and ever-so-slightly radioactive nuts – is illustrated by Lucille Clerc, taking the reader on a journey that is as informative as it is beautiful.
Jonathan Drori is a Trustee of The Woodland Trust and The Eden Project, an Ambassador for the WWF and was for nine years a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Zoological Society of London, and a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. In 2006 he was made CBE.
Lucille Clerc is a French graphic designer who moved to London following completion of her degree in Paris to study for an MA in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins. Since then she has been working in the creative industries for a diverse range of international clients, from cultural institutions to textile designers, musicians and architects.
"An arboreal odyssey"
"One of the most quietly beautiful books of the year"
– Daily Mail
"This is the best love letter to trees I have ever read. Had I written it myself, I would die happy."
– Sir Tim Smit, Founder of The Eden Project
"I have loved trees all my life. It's fascinating to learn how, across the world, they have inspired people in much the same way, and to understand the key role they play, not just in our lives, but life as a whole."
– Dame Judi Dench
"This is the perfect tree book, with beautiful illustrations. A must for any tree lover, professional or amateur, who wants to learn more about 80 inspirational trees from around the world."
– Tony Kirkham, Head of the Arboretum at Kew
"Full of new ideas and wonderful stories about the trees that helped shape us, I really loved this entertaining and erudite world journey."
– Beccy Speight, Chief Executive, The Woodland Trust
"Around the World in 80 Trees is a celebration of the vital importance of trees to our culture, environment, diet and spiritual well-being. The combination of factual, scientific and historical information makes for a fascinating read. It is a work of art and science with charming illustrations which will delight tree lovers everywhere."
– Professor Nicola Spence, the UK Government's Chief Plant Health Officer
"In this delightful and beautifully illustrated book Jonathan provides a collection of fascinating biographies of some of the world's most extraordinary trees. [...] This is a personal narrative; Jonathan's love for trees, and his sense of wonder at the diversity of the natural world, shines through on every page."
– Richard Deverell, Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
"Botanical science, culture and the history of exploration all come together in this journey around the world through many of the most important trees that influence the customs and economy of each country. I would have found it hard to make a better selection of trees that are influential and important to the culture of the many countries [in this] most engaging trip around the world."
– Professor Sir Ghillean Prance FRS, VMH, Former Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
"Nature writing at its best, skilfully weaving science with fascinating folklore and the sheer wonder of trees."
– Professor Sir Charles Godfray CBE FRS
"When Jon Drori first told me that he was going to write a about trees, I thought that he had set himself a Herculean challenge to come up with something novel, given the plethora of material that already exists. Around the World in 80 Trees is evidence of Jon's talent and ingenuity and my underappreciation of his vision and creativity: the book is a masterpiece. And it's not only a book about trees, it's a book about how trees have shaped our world, which is beautifully illustrated and succinctly crafted. [...]"
– Malcom Press, BES Bulletin 49(3), September 2018