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Anthill Roughcut – Mar 30 2010


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Product Details

  • Roughcut: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton (March 30 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393071197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393071191
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.3 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #308,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

If Edward O. Wilson were actually an ant, he'd be the warrior and the drone and the queen and everyone else too. Anthill will remind people of all of his gifts and introduce them to some new ones! --Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet"

About the Author

E.O Wilson is the author of more than twenty books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Ants. Anthill is his first novel. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Lawton TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 19 2010
Format: Roughcut Verified Purchase
Although E.O. Wilson is a great naturalist and tells natural history stories wonderfully well, he is not as good an observer of human life, or at least not a great novelist. The central one-fifth or so of this book is a book-within-a-book called "The Anthill Chronicles" and tells the story of an anthill, in a form similar to a historical novel. Since Wilson is one of the world's most famous and talented scientists. It is well worth the price for this central story. On the other hand, the rest of the book is the story of a man who lives nearby, his love of the wilderness around his home and his career path in biology, law and business which revolves around his various efforts to save the wilderness from the developers. Perhaps the best part of this story is the picture of the U.S. South as a modern society, but it would appear to be through the eyes of only a casual observer, or Wilson's writing ability is better suited to nature writing. I'm still reading one of his more scholarly works "The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies", which really tells the story of anthills and other insect societies. Somewhat harder going, but much more rewarding. Think of "Anthill" as the quick summer beach read version; read it now and follow up with The Superorganism if you find the inner book more interesting than the human-interest "wrapper".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By r on March 7 2011
Format: Roughcut Verified Purchase
the novel has some advice for young people choosing a career and who want to help protect the environment. A section describes the anthill's history from the perspective of the queen and her extended self (the colony). after reading this no one will be able to carelessly step on an ant again. a sympathetic and reliable first person description of their amazing, hardworking and brilliantly evolved, lives. this is a great example of fiction with useful scientific knowledge as the result. a great work of science teaching because you will remember what it was like to be one of them.
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By ronbc TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 14 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Edward O. Wilson is often described as “the world’s leading authority on ants.” His fascination with the “superorganism” of the anthill has brought him fame, but his attempts to explain human sociology in insect terms has also made him perhaps the most controversial life scientist of the last fifty years.

Now in his 80′s, Wilson has recently tried his hand at a novel. This seems somehow appropriate, since many of his critics have long maintained that his ideas about the application of insect social structures to human societies are, indeed, fiction.

I approached "Anthill" (2010) without much preconception. I don’t find Wilson’s ideas on social or group selection particularly alarming. He may even be right. We’ll see. So I had no presumptive reason to dislike a book that won several smaller fiction prizes.

As it turns out, I did like "Anthill" – but only the middle third of it.

Wilson divides his novel into three parts. In the first section, he recounts his pre-teen protagonist’s love of the wilderness and fascination with insects. He obviously draws on his own, very similar childhood for this part of the book, and to that extent it’s mildly interesting. However, other than several funny passages in which his human characters act a lot like ants, this first part of the book is pretty standard fare, as fiction goes. Competent, but not compelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rodge TOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 10 2011
Format: Roughcut
What really sets this book apart is the middle section detailing the rise and fall of ant "civilizations" from the perspective of the ants. The rest of the story is ok and certainly quite bearable, but its the ants you remember afterward, surely by design. If that doesn't interest you, likely the human story won't either.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written and has a few unexpected plot twists. This could qualify as a nice light read for a road trip or on your coffee breaks.
But it's also a view into the mind of one of America's great biologists- a must-read for fans of Wilson, or for those aiming to become biologists and their loved ones.
It makes a great present for a youth (I could have handled this by about age ten, and yet found it perfectly satisfying at 38 too) between the vividly described scenery, the interpersonal drama, and mostly because of all the ethical questions involved. Things like compromise, not judging strangers based on assumptions, being loyal to your past and sticking determinedly to your plan, while still being flexible enough to adapt when appropriate, taking time for new adventures and old traditions, the strength one gains from being alone with Nature, the satisfaction of bravely standing up for what's right against powerful people... there are a million good messages in this book. The main message of course is that we need to make conservation a priority.
It's not up there with the great classic novels. It isn't the sort of book you read over and over, with delightful phrases you want to underline and quote. It's a very good read and I am glad I bought it! But it's more a story than a literary work of art.
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