New book links the survival skills of seeds to human evolution

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In his new book, The Triumph of Seeds: How grains, nuts, kernels, pulses, and pip conquered the plant kingdom and shaped human history, Thor Hansen delves into the extraordinary survival characteristics of seeds and their role in the rise of human civilizations.

“Without the act and anticipation of planting seeds and harvesting them, Hansen insists there could be no agriculture as we know it,” writes Adrian Barnett in New Scientist. “Instead, our species would still be wandering in small bands of hunters, gatherers and herdsmen. Without seeds, human history might have been very different.”

Hanson, whose other books include Feathers and The Impenetrable Forest, is a conservation biologist, Guggenheim Fellow, Switzer Environmental Fellow, and winner of the John Burrough Medal for excellence in nature writing and natural history.

Here’s what a few reviewers had to say about his latest work:

“[Hanson’s] luck for finding, then writing about, the magic in something common continues with The Triumph of Seeds.” – Seattle Times

“Lest you get the impression that Hanson’s book is all academic grit and gruel, be advised that he has thoroughly leavened his narrative with odd facts and fascinating digressions.” – Natural History

“[An] engaging book … What makes The Triumph of Seeds more than a routine pop botany book is the way Mr. Hanson teases out the resonances between the ways that plants and humans use seeds … [A] lively and intelligent book.” – Richard Mabey, Wall Street Journal

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