This book was originally published in Italian in 2017 as Il Piacere delle Api.
The Joy of Bees is a rich and original collection of knowledge on bees presented in the form of analogies, paraphrases, and exaggerated images, some taken from literary classics, others taken from folk literature, films and television. The narrative bubbles as if the authors is speaking in his own dialect, and it is to the credit of translator Paul Tout that the English text has not lost the pace, character and exuberance of the language of the author’s original. The book traces a clear path that guides the reader to a full awareness of the fundamental role that this insect plays for humanity, from a bio-ecological point of view and beyond, i.e. sociological, anthropological and, more generally, humanistic. In short this book synthesizes a wealth of knowledge acquired through the author's passionate study.
Paolo Fontana is an Italian naturalist and researcher at the Edmund Mach Foundation in Trento (Italy). President of the World Biodiversity Association, he has also been a beekeeper for more than 30 years. As an entomologist he has taken part in numerous research expeditions, studying the faunas of Mediterranean as well tropical countries and describing dozens of species new to science. The author of over 240 publications, in recent years he has focused on the sustainability of agricultural ecosystems, the conservation of biodiversity, beekeeping and its associated problems, the natural management of honeybees and their use as indicators of environmental quality.
"The book may not suit very traditional scientists but it will certainly appeal to beekeepers and to that large sector of the public who are concerned about our present natural world and the way it is being abused. In other words it has something for just about everyone and everyone would be better informed and hopefully a more thoughtful citizen for reading it"
– Richard Jones (Chairman, The Eva Crane Trust)
"In spite of it being a scientifc publication, we read it with the same pleasure as a great novel"
– Susanna Tamaro (Italian novelist)