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The oak tree is found throughout the temperate zones of the world; knowing how to use it has made an astonishing difference to human history. Acorn-eating has sustained humans and animals; oak has been central to religious rites, heating, homemaking and travel by land and sea; the ink from oak galls advanced the written word; oak casks have made possible food and drink storage and transport; oak ships have fought the dramatic naval battles that determined political and economic history. William Briant Logan combines science, philosophy, spirituality and history with a quirky curiosity about why the natural world works the way it does. In lively literary prose, he narrates the biography of the tree that since time immemorial has been a symbol of loyalty and strength, generosity and renewal.