Thomas Eisner - For Love of Insects

This book is amazing. It is perfect. I was left stunned and amazed by its beauty, clarity, and depth. The writing is fabulous, the pictures are fantastic, and they are combined magnificently. Have I used enough superlatives for you yet? Well, this book is that good so I will probably have a few more for you before this review is finished.

Eisner walks us through dozens of observations and elegant experiments he has performed over the past few decades. He does so with such grace and flair that the reader is left wondering why there aren't dozens of best-selling, popular science works from Eisner. He could be another Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, or Stephen Jay Gould. Eisner actually has a dimension that these others, however, lack. Eisner is an outstanding photographer. For Love of Insects is packed with truly remarkable photographs that go right along with the text, making this book all the more wonderful.

If you are planning on pursuing a doctorate in the field, this book is a must read. Eisner provides many suggested areas where further research can be taken and generally inspires thinking that would lead to a fruitful dissertation topic.

So much in this book was new to me. I knew very little about chemical ecology, but after this single book I almost feel like an expert. The topic is surprisingly fascinating. I highly recommend For Love of Insects to all ages and interest groups. It is the perfect book for a teenager to cause them to take a further interest in science and its processes, not to mention nature in general. Without a doubt, it persuades the reader to be a more careful observer and admirer of the world around them.

from the publisher:
Imagine beetles ejecting defensive sprays as hot as boiling water; female moths holding their mates for ransom; caterpillars disguising themselves as flowers by fastening petals to their bodies; termites emitting a viscous glue to rally fellow soldiers--and you will have entered an insect world once beyond imagining, a world observed and described down to its tiniest astonishing detail by Thomas Eisner. The story of a lifetime of such minute explorations, For Love of Insects celebrates the small creatures that have emerged triumphant on the planet, the beneficiaries of extraordinary evolutionary inventiveness and unparalleled reproductive capacity.

To understand the success of insects is to appreciate our own shortcomings, Eisner tells us, but never has a reckoning been such a pleasure. Recounting exploits and discoveries in his lab at Cornell and in the field in Uruguay, Australia, Panama, Europe, and North America, Eisner time and again demonstrates how inquiry into the survival strategies of an insect leads to clarifications beyond the expected; insects are revealed as masters of achievement, forms of life worthy of study and respect from even the most recalcitrant entomophobe. Filled with descriptions of his ingenious experiments and illustrated with photographs unmatched for their combination of scientific content and delicate beauty, Eisner's book makes readers participants in the grand adventure of discovery on a scale infinitesimally small, and infinitely surprising.

Foreword by Edward O. Wilson