cloth, 337 p., $23.00
Beautifully written in praise of flowers, this book will capture the interest of gardeners and naturalists alike. Author William Burger, curator emeritus in the department of botany at Chicago’s Field Museum, sets forth in a brilliant analysis the premise that flowers are responsible for our terrestrial ecosystems and have helped humans achieve mastery of the planet. Burger explores the simple flower, probing to discover how it made major changes on the earth to benefit humanity. The author’s goal is to explain how flowers ultimately led to human advancement through the rise of agriculturally based human societies. Since flowering plants are essential for human sustenance, he reasons, we, in turn, must preserve the precious habitats that support them.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden