What are LitBits?Thor Hanson’s The Triumph of Seeds Takes Science Award

A long-time friend of Books In Common, author and biologist Dr. Thor Hanson’s intriguing follow-up to Feathers (a historical narrative about, you guessed it, feathers), The Triumph of Seeds (2015) has just won the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science.

Thor Hanson, The Triumph of Seeds

We live in a world of seeds. From our morning toast to the cotton in our clothes, they are quite literally the stuff and staff of life, supporting diets, economies, and civilizations around the globe. Just as the search for nutmeg and the humble peppercorn drove the Age of Discovery, so did coffee beans help fuel the Enlightenment, and cottonseed helped spark the Industrial Revolution. And from the Fall of Rome to the Arab Spring, the fate of nations continues to hinge on the seeds of a Middle Eastern grass known as wheat.

“… the genius of Hanson’s fascinating, inspiring and entertaining book stems from the fact that it is not about how all kinds of things grow from seeds; it is about the seeds themselves. Hanson takes one of the least-impressive-looking natural objects and reveals a life of elegance and wonder.”

— Mark Kurlansky, The New York Times Book Review


Dr. Thor Hanson is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Switzer Environmental Fellow, and an award-winning author and biologist. In addition to The Triumph of Seeds his books include The Impenetrable Forest, Feathers, and the illustrated children’s favorite, Bartholomew Quill. Hanson’s writing has earned many accolades, including The John Burroughs Medal, the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize, and two Pacific Northwest Book Awards.

For information about scheduling an event with Thor, contact Books In Common directly.

Read the Wall Street Journal Book Review by Richard Maby.


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