Reading Merlin Sheldrake feels like getting a personal tour of the most overlooked kingdom of life from an enthusiastic expert. Helpfully illustrated and full of fascinating stories, Entangled Life is the perfect introduction to mycology for a lay reader. You will never look at fungi the same way again. Recommended By Emily B., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A mind-bending journey into the hidden world of fungi that will change your understanding of life on earth
When we think of fungi, most of us think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that support and sustain nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel and behave.
In Entangled Life Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake's vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the 'Wood Wide Web', to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.
Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life's processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms — and our relationships with them — are changing our understanding of how life works.
"A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book...I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world — the secrets of which modern science is only now beginning to fathom." Robert MacFarlane, author of Underland
"[A] delightfully granular debut…From bread to booze to the very fiber of life, the world turns on fungus, and Sheldrake provides a top-notch portrait." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"True to his name, Merlin takes us on a magical journey deep into the roots of Nature — the mycelial universe that exists under every footstep we take in life. Merlin is an expert storyteller, weaving the tale of our co-evolution with fungi into a scientific adventure. Entangled Life is a must-read for citizen scientists hoping to make a positive difference on this sacred planet we share." Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
"Sheldrake's charm and curiosity make for a book that is delightful to read but also grand and dizzying in how thoroughly it recalibrates our understanding of the natural world and the often overlooked organisms within it." Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes
About the 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.