The Invention of Nature

  • by Andrea Wulf
  • Narrated by David Drummond
  • 14 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2015. Winner of the LA Times Book Prize 2015 (Science and Technology). Shortlisted for the Independent Book Week Award 2016.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast; there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.
His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolívar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'.

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What the Critics Say

"Dazzling." (Literary Review)
"Brilliant." (Sunday Express)
"Extraordinary and gripping." (New Scientist)
"A superb biography." (The Economist)
"An exhilarating armchair voyage." (Giles Milton, Mail on Sunday)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Wonderful book

This is an incredible book and beautifully written. However the narration by someone who sounds like they should be doing movie trailers was really jarring. Check the sample to see if you can handle it.
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- Andy

interesting story but was hoping for more

An interesting story about one of the most influential people on the environmental movement and understanding nature.
I was perhaps expecting more as it won the Royal Society book prize, but I felt the book neither fulfilled in creating a compelling personal story of Humboldts story or of his seminal thoughts in reconstructing a whole scientific field. Arguably the best written bits are the influence on other scientists and authors. Worth it for those who have never heard of Humboldt.
Narration was clear, but too monotone for me.
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- Antonio Konitsiotis

Book Details

  • Release Date: 18-11-2015
  • Publisher: John Murray