Andrew McKenna-Foster, Director of Natural Science at the Maria Mitchell Association
The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf
What are you reading?
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf. Alexander von Humboldt was an amazing naturalist from the early 1800’s. The author is just so good at researching somebody’s life and how they impacted the world around them.
What’s it about?
Alexander von Humboldt is the guy who basically brought the idea of ecology and food webs and the web of nature together. He even thought about deforestation effects way before anyone else. Really cool guy. And he was immune to the hardships of, like, hiking up volcanoes. He’s wearing simple leather clothing, hiking in terrible weather, and every 500 feet, he’s doing things like taking barometer measurements, no matter what was going on around him. Amazing guy.
How does it read?
It kind of reads an as adventure, and it ties into everything else that was happening at that time in the world. She makes connections so that you can have a bigger picture of history. It’s just methodically researched.