Synopses & Reviews
An excellent bottle of wine can be the spark that inspires a brainstorming session. Such was the case for Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle, scientists who frequently collaborate on book and museum exhibition projects. When the conversation turned to wine one evening, it almost inevitably led the twoandmdash;one a palaeoanthropologist, the other a molecular biologistandmdash;to begin exploring the many intersections between science and wine. This book presents their fascinating, freewheeling answers to the question andldquo;What can science tell us about wine?andrdquo; And vice versa.
Conversational and accessible to everyone, this colorfully illustrated book embraces almost every imaginable area of the sciences, from microbiology and ecology (for an understanding of what creates this complex beverage) to physiology and neurobiology (for insight into the effects of wine on the mind and body). The authors draw on physics, chemistry, biochemistry, evolution, and climatology, and they expand the discussion to include insights from anthropology, primatology, entomology, Neolithic archaeology, and even classical history. The resulting volume is indispensible for anyone who wishes to appreciate wine to its fullest.
“In this superbly written book, Ian Tattersall combines his unique knowledge of the human fossil record, Paleolithic archeology, primate behavior, prehistoric art, as well as the workings of the human brain...to offer a convincing scenario of how we have come to hold dominion over the earth” (Donald Johanson, Scientific american).
In Becoming Human, noted anthropologist and renaissance man Ian Tattersall explores what makes us uniquely human, the qualities that set us apart from our ancestors, and the significance of our knowledge. A worldwide tour of discovery, Tattersall takes the reader from 30,000-year-old cave paintings in France and anthropological digs in Africa, to examining human behavior in a New York restaurant. And by offering wisdom gleaned from fossil remains, primate behavior, prehistoric art, and archaeology, Tattersall presents a stunning picture of where humankind evolved, how Darwin's theories have changed, and what we reliably know about modern-day human's capacity for love, language, and thought. Widely praised in the media, and an Amazon.com Top-10 bestseller, Becoming Human is an amazing trip into the past and into the future.
A captivating survey of the science of wine and winemaking for anyone who has ever wondered about the magic of the fermented grape
Includes bibliographical references (p. -245) and index.
About the Author
What inspired you to investigate the natural history of wine?
We were inspired to do this book when we found ourselves drinking wine as an inspirational aid while writing our last book together, on the evolution of the brain. It occurred to us that wine is a wonderful perspective through which to view almost every area of natural science.
Why are humans so enamored of wine?
There are plenty of evolutionary scenarios to explain both our ability to metabolize alcohol and our propensity to seek it out. Quite honestly, though, wine itself transcends purely reductionist explanations. It appeals comprehensively to our senses, but it is much more than simply a sensory stimulus.and#160;It is a wonderful metaphor for some fundamental aspects of human experience.
Do you have a andldquo;favorite factandrdquo; about any particular wine or vintage?
This book is about wine itself, rather than about particular wines, or styles of wine. However, a particular favorite is the andldquo;Prephylloxeraandrdquo; bottling from Mount Etna, made from ancient gnarled vines that somehow survived the epidemic that almost destroyed the wine industry in the late nineteenth century.
Where is wine going?
The chemistry of wine wonandrsquo;t change in the future, and more than likely the genetics of wine wonandrsquo;t either. But as an extension of the human spirit, wine will continue to challenge human creativity in exactly the same way it first did seven or eight thousand years ago.