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A Novel

June 2011


The two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist delivers "an astonishing literary achievement" (Anthony Gottlieb, The Economist).

Winner of the 2010 Heartland Prize, Anthill follows the thrilling adventures of a modern-day Huck Finn, enthralled with the "strange, beautiful, and elegant" world of his native Nokobee County. But as developers begin to threaten the endangered marshlands around which he lives, the book’s hero decides to take decisive action. Edward O. Wilson—the world’s greatest living biologist—elegantly balances glimpses of science with the gripping saga of a boy determined to save the world from its most savage ecological predator: man himself.


"[Wilson smuggles] gems of empirical knowledge across the literary border to create fiction with unusually rewarding heft." — Barbara Kingsolver, The New York Times Book Review

"Part epic-inspired adventure story, part philosophy-of-life, part many-layered mid-century Alabama viewed in finely observed detail, part ant life up close, part lyrical hymn to the wonders of earth…yes, all of these." — Margaret Atwood, New York Review of Books

"One part of Anthill, by the world’s leading myrmecologist, demonstrates that in Mr Wilson ants have found not only their Darwin but also their Homer…The tale within a tale is an astonishing literary achievement; nobody but Mr Wilson could have written it, and those who read it will tread lightly in the forest, at least for a while…his evocation of their ways is a more powerful tool for raising ecological awareness than any Disneyfication is likely to be." — The Economist

"Wilson’s foray into fiction allows him to write more expressively, psychologically, even spiritually about the great web of life, humankind included, and the irrefutable rules for ecological survival…A teacher as well as a scientist, Wilson uses the prism of fiction to cast new light on the grand unifying lesson of nature: all of us earthlings, all of life’s astonishing creations, thrive or fail together." — Donna Seaman, Chicago Tribune

"The astute, knowledgeable, amazing structure of Anthill is a masterpiece of craft, a fictional embodiment of the ant." — Sue Brannon Walker, Poet Laureate of Alabama, Alabama Press-Register

"[A] beautifully written coming-of-age novel about a young boy in Alabama. The highly respected author and entomologist may be sneaking some science down the throats of self-respecting fiction readers everywhere with the tale of a boy-turned-environmental lawyer who tries to save wildlife, but we hardly mind." — The Daily Beast

"Lush with organic details, Wilson’s keen eye for the natural world and his acumen for environmental science is on brilliant display in this multifaceted story about human life and its connection to nature." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The savage conflicts between the Trailhead and Waterside colonies are as dramatic as any epic of Herodotus or Thucydides, histories Wilson evokes in his characterization of the tiny warriors as myrmidons and hoplites." — Harvey Freedenberg, Shelf Awareness

"A triumphant epic of life by the world’s greatest naturalist. This is War and Peace—among the ants, the land developers, and the environmentalists and preachers. Marvel at E. O. Wilson’s wondrous and captivating creation." — Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute

"It’s slightly mysterious how E. O. Wilson manages to combine so many different talents in one person—from close observation to grand theorizing to deep compassion to well-paced, lively writing. (If he were actually an ant, he’d be the warrior and the drone and the queen and everyone else too.) This novel will remind people of all his gifts and introduce them to some new ones!" — Bill McKibben, author of Radio Free Vermont

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    Edward O. Wilson recalls his lifetime with ants, from his first boyhood encounters in the woods of Alabama to perilous journeys into the Brazilian rainforest.
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    “The book bursts to life with [Wilson’s] observations of nature, from fire ants and social spiders to starlings.”—Aarathi Prasad, New York Times Book Review
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    Genesis: The Deep Origin of Societies

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    Forming a twenty-first-century statement on Darwinian evolution, one shorn of “religious and political dogma,” Edward O. Wilson offers a bold work of scientific thought and synthesis.



140 x 211 mm • 384 pages


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