The major bestseller
'A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. Sentence after sentence stopped me short. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer' ROBERT MACFARLANE, author of Underland
There is a lifeform so strange and wondrous that it forces us to rethink how life works...
Neither plant nor animal, it is found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. It can be microscopic, yet also accounts for the largest organisms ever recorded, living for millennia and weighing tens of thousands of tonnes.
Its ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land, and for millions of years its towering structures dominated earth's landscape. It can survive unprotected in space, and thrives amidst nuclear radiation.
In this captivating adventure, Merlin Sheldrake explores the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that sustain our existence while challenging our assumptions. They can solve problems without a brain, stretching traditional definitions of 'intelligence', and can manipulate animal behaviour in astonishing and often unsettling ways that we struggle to explain.
In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties, which have influenced societies since antiquity, have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses. The ability of fungi to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the 'Wood Wide Web', is transforming the way we understand ecosystems.
Yet they live their lives largely hidden from view, and over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented.
A mind-altering journey, Entangled Life shows that the more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.
AUTHOR: Merlin Sheldrake is a biologist and a writer. He received a Ph.D. in Tropical Ecology from Cambridge University for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was based at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is a musician and keen fermenter. Entangled Life is his first book.