Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings

Johns Hopkins. Apr. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781421437774. $27. NAT HIST
Trouet (Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Univ. of Arizona) demonstrates how dendrochronology can be used to identify natural events and how that correlates with our human history. For example, a narrow tree ring indicates a dry year, explaining how something like a drought prompted a mass migration. Tree rings can also show how global warming is quickening. Yet, rather than lingering on the negative, Trouet celebrates the scientific processes and discoveries of her work and that of her colleagues, such as collaborative investigations of everything from stalagmites to sunken Spanish ships that pair with environmental events such as volcanic activity, hurricanes, snow droughts, earthquakes, tsunamis, and forest fires. Trouet writes that the purpose of this book is to excite people about science, and she succeeds by creating an engaging, credible work sprinkled with anecdotes.
VERDICT With this brief, accessible look at the wisdom of tree rings, Trouet draws readers into a narrative that clearly displays her joy for her work and offers some fun with word play.
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