The smash-hit Sunday Times bestseller, now in abridged form and illustrated with over 100 spectacular full-colour images, showcasing this wondrous and wildly various lifeform as never before.
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 this mind-altering adventure, Merlin Sheldrake introduces the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that have made our world, and continue to shape our futures.
Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and writer. He received a PhD 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 research associate of the Vrije University, Amsterdam, and sits on the advisory board of the Fungi Foundation and the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks.
Entangled Life is an international bestseller, winner of the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2021 and the Wainwright Prize 2021, and has been nominated for a host of other prizes, including the British Book Awards Book of the Year 2021 for Narrative Non-Fiction and the Rathbones Folio Prize 2021. Entangled Life was also featured as Radio 4's Book of the Week and selected as a Book of the Year in The Times, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, New Statesman and Time, among others. It has been translated into twenty languages.
– Winner of the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2021
– Winner of the Wainwright Prize for Conservation Writing 2021
– A Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Times, Evening Standard, Mail on Sunday, BBC Science Focus and Time Book of the Year
"Dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing"
– Robert Macfarlane
–Margaret Atwood (on Twitter)
"Reads like an adventure story [...] Wondrous"
– Sunday Times
"Urgent, astounding and necessary"
– Helen Macdonald