Tales From the Ant World, E. O. Wilson’s book that came out this August, was a fun and interesting read. I enjoyed peeking inside the mind of a man who has built his life around his sheer passion for natural history and his love of ants in particular. I recommend buying and reading the book if you have even the slightest interest in natural history, ants, or the way scientists think about natural history.
The Best Part of Tales
Wilson is a master of understated joy. He writes with a reverence for his subject that you rarely encounter from other authors. And that’s the best part of Tales From the Ant World: E. O. Wilson took the time to write down some of his favorite things about ants. Interesting things. Things that are stranger than fiction in the way that only natural history can be.
And for that glimpse of joy, I recommend buying the book.
The bits I didn’t like
It pains me to say this because I’ve been a bit of a Wilson devotee for most of my professional life, but there were parts of Tales From the Ant World that weren’t what I hoped for. Wilson’s voice was a little too nostalgic, and the story telling a touch scattered in some parts of the book. Not that I’m a great writer, but I don’t have a team of editors at my back, either. Since Wilson does, one must assume that he told them to mind their own business when they suggested he try not to sound so old. I more or less read half the book with Grandpa Simpson’s voice inside my head.
Verdict: Read Tales From the Ant World
READ IT! Tales From the Ant World is interesting, full of great natural history, and it’ll make you smile more than once. If you’re like me and cut your teeth on Wilson’s earlier books, you’ll enjoy this one too. As I said above, Wilson’s love of natural history comes shining through. Just prepare yourself for more nostalgia than his other books and you’ll be good to go.
A version of this review also appears on Amazon.com