- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Unbound (8 September 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1783522364
- ISBN-13: 978-1783522361
- Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
- Customer Reviews: 20 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,22,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ladders to Heaven Hardcover – 8 September 2016
"This book concerns the stunningly versatile and ancient family of fig trees now being used as a framework species to restore damaged tropical forests. Figs are not only considered the keystone species in forests but are perhaps the world’s most perfect tree – they provide highly nutritious fruits with health-giving and medicinal qualities. They attract birds and animals. They grow very rapidly and produce abundant fruits in a few years. They make shade and shelter, their deep powerful roots can break up compacted soils, they draw up water, they prevent erosion, and they have important spiritual qualities. The tree in the Garden of Eden was very likely not an apple but a fig." (Annie Proulx)
"Surprising, engrossing, disturbing, and promising, [Ladders to Heaven] combines masterful storytelling and spellbinding science. This is a beautifully-written and important book about trees that have shaped human destiny." (Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus)
"A real labour of love, concisely and elegantly told." (Fred Pearce, author of The New Wild; environmental consultant for New Scientist)
"Rainforest ecologist Mike Shanahan charts a lifelong love affair with figs, one that has taken him from India to Kenya, through temples and rainforests, all in search of a deeper understanding of what he describes as ‘humanity’s relationship with nature.’ The fig becomes a tasty lens that reveals not only the fruit’s cultural and biological significance but our relationship to that which most deeply nourishes us." (Simran Sethi, author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate)
"In his insightful book … Mike Shanahan combines poetry and science, history and humanity, to tell a story not only of the fig tree but of life on Earth in all its beautiful and astonishing complexity. In doing so, he reminds us of what a remarkable place we inhabit―and how much we should all want to protect and preserve it." (Deborah Blum, Director, Knight Science Journalism Program, MIT; author of The Poisoner’s Handbook)
"My mind has been blown … Absolutely wonderful … My book of the year" (Mike McGrath, host, You Bet Your Garden, WHYY Public Radio)
"[A] cool new book on the deep weirdness, sexual and otherwise, of figs." (Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma)
"The author romps through the history, biology and culture surrounding fig trees with style. Writing fact-packed non-fiction in a way which captivates and enthrals, in language that is accessible to a wide audience, Shanahan reveals a masterful touch. A highly recommended insight into an amazing tree genus." (Gabriel Hemery, author of The Man Who Harvested Trees and Gifted Life and The New Sylva)
"A lovely little book, a real pleasure." (Alex Renton, author of Planet Carnivore and Stiff Upper Lip)
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Top international reviews
It's informative without being too scientifically written.
Inspired by a question which popped into my mind regards the Fig featured in human scapegoat sacrifices, I discovered Shanahan's blog and bought the book on spec. . The scapegoat sacrifice of 'Greece' involved virgins and/or impoverished males of no social standing being fed figs and either exiled or murdered to atone for the corruption of leaders or calamaties caused by wars (same thing) such as crop failures.
Anticipating a wealth of information on the role fig trees play in the biosphere and biological wellbeing of our planet, I enjoyed discovering Fig Wasps and marvelled once more at the equisite intelligence of Nature and how the parasitic Fig Trees ensure an incredibly beneficial outcome for endless species. Conversant with the marvelous and turbulant story of Hemp as an obvious natural companion to all for all purposes (except destructive) I was delighted to add the Fig to natural collections of solutions to the ongoing war on Terra by the unmentionable few and ignorant many. That's the positive merit of the message.The book initially held promise of an ecological adventure story based in factual truth.
However ....... The first irritation arose at the poor editing repeating 'hungry animals' and the process of seed transmissions through bodily functions. This 'Hungry Animals' appears to have been placed as a reminder of predation. Crashing downhill fast from here, I list the following:-
The unproven hypothesis that humans 'descended' from apes and chimps; there never has been nor will ever be evidence for a ridiulous theory
The unproven hypthesis that humans originated in trees within Africa and migrated worldwide
The myth of 'Global Warming/Climate Change conjured up by Club of Rome in the '70s as a means to scapegoat the human beings for the pernicious destructive actions of the cabal destroying nature. When speaking of 'climate change' we are obliged to ask from when the measure of temparature originated and as a result of what, for comparison?
Shanahan alludes to various volcanic eruptions in the 16 and 1800's which certainly affected temperatures, yet does not point the reader to the that of the mid-1800s in Britain, Europe and America resulting in 3 years without summer, rivers frozen, crops failing and cataclysmic weather anomolies experienced and recorded. It can be safely assumed that 'Global Warming' is merely temperature recovery to normal levels since that time; it certainly caused a change in climate.
Another question unanswered is that given earth's return to natural warmer temperatures, is it likely that Fig Trees were also abundant here in Britain and Europe until fairly recently? The destruction of natural habitats in favour of agri-cultural toxic mechanical and now technological farming will raise temperatures as there is obviously less cover of foliage. The practice of building concrete and glass cities increases heat and the measurements paraded as evidence for 'global warming' are taken at city centre level. Oh, but no worries, the Western populations will be heavily taxed to 'compensate' third world losses through rampant deforestation of the same old cabal. The monetisation of nature is the root of all evils.
Predictably Shanahan cloaks the utter destruction of nature and humanity via G5 drone technologies as a brilliant aid to nature herself in propagating earth with plentiful seeds and life giving figs via DRONES. Unsuprisingly, there's no end of lucrative funding for this. This is how nature is destroyed; at the microcosmic level, at the cellular level. Imagine these disgusting mini-drones cutting through the canopies, terrorising and injuring birds and remaining natural propogators? Pretty soon, they'll all die out as biomimic drones will have replaced their functions (and ours too).
This little short book is one aimed at ten year olds and just as dishonest and dangrous all the same. This is not in any way authentic science but it certainly rewards 'the experts' for their blind enthusiasm for electromagnetic radiation killing biological life and the Transhuman Agenda. For those who love fairy tales and foolishly believe drones are for our benefit, there's no hope. They are beyond the logic and reason of the obvious need to LEAVE NATURE ALONE or at best encourage natural conditions for her to recover her former intelligently designed glory.
Despite millions of bombs, endless toxic waste pollution, genocidal wars, humankind and nature survives. WARNING: it will not survive microsmic replication through technology. Grow up and see these self interested overgrown boys and their toys for what they truly are; a mindless bunch of criminals with P.ermanent H.ead D.amage and the term 'doctor' means 'leech' another parasitic nuisance.