Lives of the Trees

An Uncommon History

By Diana Wells; Heather Lovett (Illustrator)
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781565124912, 369pp.

Publication Date: January 2010

List Price: $19.95*
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Diana Wells, author of "100 Flowers" and "How They Got Their Names" now turns her attention to something bigger our deep-rooted relationship with trees. As she investigates the names and meanings of trees, telling their legends and lore, she reminds us of just how innately bound we are to these protectors of our planet. Since the human race began, we have depended on them for food, shade, shelter and fuel, not to mention furniture, musical instruments, medicine utensils and more.
Wells has a remarkable ability to dig up the curious and the captivating: At one time, a worm found in a hazelnut prognosticated ill fortune. Rowan trees were planted in churchyards to prevent the dead from rising from their graves. Greek arrows were soaked in deadly yew, and Shakespeare's witches in "Macbeth" used Gall of goat and slips of Yew to make their lethal brew. One bristlecone pine, at about 4,700 years old, is thought to be the oldest living plant on earth. All this and more can be found in the beautifully illustrated pages (themselves born of birch bark ) of "100 Trees."

About the Author
Diana Wells is the author of "100 Birds and How They Got Their Names" and "100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names", has written for "Friends Journal", and is contributing editor of the journal "Greenprints". Born in Jerusalem, she has lived in England and Italy and holds an honors degree in history from Oxford University. She now lives with her husband on a farm in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010

In her book Lives of the Trees: An Uncommon History, author Diana Wells explores the history of and people's relationship with about 100 trees. She says she hopes the book will inspire readers to discover the trees around them because "we need the trees and they need us." More at

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