Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Future
There is a lifeform so strange and wondrous that it forces us to rethink how life works. Neither plant nor animal, it is found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. It can be microscopic, yet also accounts for the largest organisms ever recorded, living for millennia and weighing tens of thousands of tonnes. Its ability to digest rock enabled the first life on land, it can survive unprotected in space, and thrives amidst nuclear radiation. In this captivating adventure, Merlin Sheldrake explores the spectacular and neglected world of fungi: endlessly surprising organisms that sustain nearly all living systems.
*THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER*
*A NEW STATESMAN, DAILY TELEGRAPH, THE TIMES, BBC SCIENCE FOCUS, EVENING STANDARD, MAIL ON SUNDAY AND SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020*
‘A dazzling, vibrant, vision-changing book. I ended it wonderstruck at the fungal world. A remarkable work by a remarkable writer’ Robert Macfarlane
The more we learn about fungi, the less makes sense without them.
Neither plant nor animal, they are found throughout the earth, the air and our bodies. They can be microscopic, yet also account for the largest organisms ever recorded. They enabled the first life on land, can survive unprotected in space and thrive amidst nuclear radiation. In fact, nearly all life relies in some way on fungi.
These endlessly surprising organisms have no brain but can solve problems and manipulate animal behaviour with devastating precision. In giving us bread, alcohol and life-saving medicines, fungi have shaped human history, and their psychedelic properties have recently been shown to alleviate a number of mental illnesses. Their ability to digest plastic, explosives, pesticides and crude oil is being harnessed in break-through technologies, and the discovery that they connect plants in underground networks, the ‘Wood Wide Web’, is transforming the way we understand ecosystems. Yet over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented.
Entangled Life is a mind-altering journey into a spectacular and neglected world, and shows that fungi provide a key to understanding both the planet on which we live, and life itself.
‘Reads like an adventure story … wondrous … beguilingly weaves together lived experience and scientific research’ Sunday Times
‘An astonishing book that could alter our perceptions of fungi for ever. It seems somehow to tip the natural world upside down’ Observer
‘Dazzling … reveals a world that’s both more extraordinary and more delicate than could be imagined’ Daily Mail