Search-icon

Butterfly People

An American Encounter with the Beauty of the World

By

Hardcover published by Pantheon (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

have you read it? rate it!
Histogram_reset_icon
(1 REVIEW)
ADD TO MY SHELF
About This Book
With 32 pages of full-color inserts and black-and-white illustrations throughout.

From one of our most highly regarded historians, here is an original and engrossing chronicle of nineteenth-century America’s infatuation with butterflies, and the story of the naturalists who unveiled the mysteries of their existence.
 
A product of William Leach’s lifelong love of butterflies, this engaging and elegantly illustrated history shows how Americans from all walks of life passionately pursued butterflies, and how through their discoveries and observations they transformed the character of natural history. Leach focuses on the correspondence and scientific writings of half a dozen pioneering lepidopterists who traveled across the country and throughout the world, collecting and studying unknown and exotic species. In a book as full of life as the subjects themselves and foregrounding a collecting culture now on the brink of vanishing, Leach reveals how the beauty of butterflies led Americans into a deeper understanding of the natural world. He shows, too, that the country’s enthusiasm for butterflies occurred at the very moment that another form of beauty—the technological and industrial objects being displayed at world’s fairs and commercial shows—was emerging, and that Americans’ attraction to this new beauty would eventually, and at great cost, take precedence over nature in general and butterflies in particular.
Show less
With 32 pages of full-color inserts and black-and-white illustrations throughout.

From one of our most highly regarded historians, here is an original and engrossing chronicle of nineteenth-century America’s infatuation with butterflies, and the story of the naturalists who unveiled the mysteries of their existence.
 
A product of William Leach’s lifelong love of butterflies, this engaging and elegantly illustrated history shows how Americans from all walks of life passionately pursued butterflies, and how through their discoveries and observations they transformed the character of natural history. Leach focuses on the correspondence and scientific writings of half a dozen pioneering lepidopterists who traveled across the country and throughout the world, collecting and studying unknown and exotic species. In a book as full of life as the subjects themselves and foregrounding a collecting culture now on the brink of vanishing, Leach reveals how the beauty of butterflies led Americans into a deeper understanding of the natural world. He shows, too, that the country’s enthusiasm for butterflies occurred at the very moment that another form of beauty—the technological and industrial objects being displayed at world’s fairs and commercial shows—was emerging, and that Americans’ attraction to this new beauty would eventually, and at great cost, take precedence over nature in general and butterflies in particular.
Product Details
Hardcover (416 pages)
Published: April 9, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Pantheon
ISBN: 9780375422935
Other books byWilliam R. Leach
  • Country of Exiles

    Country of Exiles
    In Country of Exiles, William Leach, whose Land of Desire was a finalist for the National Book Award, explores the troubling effects of our national love affair with mobility.  He shows us how the impulse to pull up stakes and find a new frontier has always battled with the need to put down roots, and how a new cosmopolitanism has seized our national identity. Leach takes us across a featureless America, where strip malls homogenize a once varied and majestic landscape, and where casinos displace the Native American spiritual connection to the land. He shows us a culture where everyone, from CEOs to office temps, abandons the notion of company loyalty, and where rootless academics posit a world without borders.  With compelling vision and insight, Leach reveals the profound but often hidden impact of America's disintegrating sense of place on our national and individual psyche.

    Land of Desire

    Land of Desire
    Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New...
    This monumental work of cultural history was nominated for a National Book Award. It chronicles America's transformation, beginning in 1880, into a nation of consumers, devoted to a cult of comfort, bodily well-being, and endless acquisition. 24 pages of photos.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
Quote Cannot be Empty

Submitted quotes are usually posted within 48 hours

ThanksYour Quote Will be posted Shortly
Bookish