If this book had been assigned as part of that long list of books for zoology in college (50 years ago) this would have been a difficult read. I can't say it has taken me this long to catch up to E.O. Wilson's philosophy of the natural science and its place in our world, but at this point in my life, this book means a lot to me.
Wilson's writing is succinct and to the point. How he became a scientist, a naturalist, is an example of how many naturalists, trained and untrained, started out, as children taken to natural places. It could be one's backyard where you could lift a stepping stone to find a salamander or centipede, or seeing butterflies and other insects interacting with plants. And if you lived near the coast, trips to the sea shore where the tide pools were filled with a myriad of arthropods.
This memoir of Wilson's life demonstrates the tenacity with which he tackles whatever challenges him in the name of science and beyond. His decision early on (before college) to become an entomologist grows from his love of insects, and yet he has a wider view, how things are interdependent upon one another. His genuine thirst for knowledge also plays a part in how he lives his life.
And importantly, his writing delves into his relations with his fellow man, including colleagues. Wilson is never threatened by how another person might behave towards him. He is magnanimous in his dealings, while not hiding his opinions of others whose respect he has lost.
A wonderfully intimate sharing of E.O.
Wilson's childhood, his fascination and study of ants is unforgettable.
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