Author of key book of our times comes to Asheville
Andrea Wulf makes Malaprop's Bookstore one her stops, Sun., May 1, 5 p.m., in talking about her thrilling work of non-fiction, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World (Knopf, 2016).
Von Humboldt, no longer a household word (though this book may change that), was once the second most famous person in the world in the early 1800s--after Napoleon. There are more places named after him than any other person, the book states.
Von Humboldt came up with ideas of ecosystems, isotherms, the web of life, and climate change. He had an amazing memory that enabled him to compare, in his mind, observations made on adventures experienced from the Andes to Siberia.
Wulf inspires, particularly through her loving appreciation of history's eccentric geniuses. Henry David Thoreau, for instance, drew inspiration from von Humboldt and had one of his life-changing moments when "he stopped using one journal for 'poetry' and another for 'facts.'
There's a sea change coming in our society, and von Humboldt is rising from the dust to lead it.