Nature Revealed: Selected Writings, 1949-2006, by Edward O. Wilson (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 719 pp.
Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson is one of the leading biologists and philosophical thinkers of our time. In this compelling collection, Wilson’s observations range from the tiny glands of ants to the nature of the living universe. Many of the pieces are considered landmarks in evolutionary biology, ecology, and behavioral biology. Wilson explores topics as diverse as slavery in ants, the genetic basis of societal structure, the discovery of the taxon cycle, the original formulation of the theory of island biogeography, a critique of subspecies as a unit of classification, and the conservation of life’s diversity. Each article is presented in its original form, dating from Wilson’s first published article in 1949 to his most recent exploration of the natural world. Preceding each piece is a brief essay by Wilson that explains the context in which the article was written and provides insights into the scientist himself and the debates of the time.
This collection enables us to share Wilson’s various vantage points and to view the complexities of nature through his eyes. Wilson aficionados, along with readers discovering his work for the first time, will find in this collection a world of beauty, complexity, and challenge.
E.O. Wilson was scheduled to give a book talk in Portland in May 2013 (for his new book Letters to a Young Scientist), but the event had to be canceled due to an illness with Wilson. As I have had the opportunity to meet him twice before, I wish him the best!