Ever since men first hunted for honeycomb in rocks and daubed pictures of it on cave walls, the honeybee has been seen as one of the wonders of nature: social, industrious, beautiful, terrifying. No other creature has inspired in humans an identification so passionate, persistent, or fantastical.
The Hive recounts the astonishing tale of all the weird and wonderful things that humans believed about bees and their "society" over the ages. It ranges from the honey delta of ancient Egypt to the Tupelo forests of modern Florida, taking in a cast of characters including Alexander the Great and Napoleon, Sherlock Holmes and Muhammed Ali.
The history of humans and honeybees is also a history of ideas, taking us through the evolution of science, religion, and politics, and a social history that explores the bee's impact on food and human ritual.
In this beautifully illustrated book, Bee Wilson shows how humans will always view the hive as a miniature universe with order and purpose, and look to it to make sense of their own.
Praise for The Hive
“Endlessly fascinating.” —The Mail on Sunday
“A brilliant examination of a natural phenomenon we all take for granted.” —Sunday Express (London)
“Erudite, informative, accurate, and a delight to read.” —The Times Literary Supplement
“Riveting…Almost any paragraph chosen at random is entertaining.” —New Statesman
“In her delightful book, Bee Wilson traces the ideas that humans have had about the hive, and how these ideas reflect prevailing views about the body politic.” —The Economist
“Beautifully produced and well researched...leaving readers to marvel.” —The Good Book Guide
“Entertaining and thoroughly worthwhile.” —The Sunday Times