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Linnaeus: Nature and Nation

Linnaeus: Nature and Nation
Lisbet Koerner
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 298 p., $39.95

This book is a moving story of one of the most famous naturalists who ever lived, the Swedish-born botanist Carl Linnaeus. It is a scholarly biography and a masterpiece; the combination of biographical details, history and science make this book interesting reading.

Weaving a personal story with new and intimate details, Koerner provides information on Linnaeus' grand and bizarre economic projects. Largely self-taught, Linnaeus developed his ideas on natural history walks that sometimes involved as many as 300 people. During these hikes, he developed his system that eventually was described in his famous Philosophia Botanica (1751). Linnaeus insisted that his publications were affordable and accessible to anyone; Termini Botanici originally appeared in 1762 and was reprinted 27 times by 1811.

A fascinating book, it should be of interest to historians of science and economics as well as those readers wanting to know more about botanical research, nomenclature and European life in the 18th century.

— Jean E. Bedger