The Hive

The Hive

The Story of the Honeybee and Us

Book - 2006
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Ever since men first hunted for honeycomb in rocks and daubed pictures of it on cave walls, the honeybee has been seen as one of the wonders of nature: social, industrious, beautiful, terrifying. No other creature has inspired in humans an identification so passionate, persistent, or fantastical.
The Hive recounts the astonishing tale of all the weird and wonderful things that humans believed about bees and their "society" over the ages. It ranges from the honey delta of ancient Egypt to the Tupelo forests of modern Florida, taking in a cast of characters including Alexander the Great and Napoleon, Sherlock Holmes and Muhammed Ali.
The history of humans and honeybees is also a history of ideas, taking us through the evolution of science, religion, and politics, and a social history that explores the bee's impact on food and human ritual.
In this beautifully illustrated book, Bee Wilson shows how humans will always view the hive as a miniature universe with order and purpose, and look to it to make sense of their own.
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2006
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780312342616
0312342616
Branch Call Number: 638.1 WILSON
Characteristics: x, 308 p. : ill. ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Story of the honeybee and us

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krdavis255
Feb 22, 2015

This is a neat little book that focuses on the relationship people have had to bees as a cultural symbol; though there is a bit of discussion about the mechanics of beekeeping, this is not a history of beekeeping. Nevertheless, there is a lot to learn about how humans have perceived bees through the ages. Bees have alternately been the symbol of royalty and obedience to an all-powerful queen (or more often king, ignoring the reality of bee sex) as well as a symbol of humble, socialist workers who all strive for the common good.

This book was very funny in places — people have had some very bizarre notions about bees, particularly about where they come from, which baffled us for thousands of years. I also learned more than I thought there was to know about bees as a cultural icon, though I will look elsewhere for a book about the history of beekeeping or the biology of bees.

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krdavis255
Feb 20, 2015

krdavis255 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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