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The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and…

The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees…

by Hannah Nordhaus

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While it would be easy to poke fun at this book - the breathless writing, the newspaper magazine article style - I really enjoyed it.
The author uses an individual beekeeper to "star" in a tale of bees, beekeeping and agriculture in the US. It helps that her subject is eminently 'writeable' - a partially lapsed mormon with shades of Hunter S Thompson, who must be the most quotable beekeeper on the planet.
There is plenty of factual information about bees and beekeeping, and the content is particularly good in providing an historical perspective. I might have liked a little more basic information about the bee - I was left wondering about the different roles of the nectar and pollen collected - but that sort of background is readily available elsewhere. The crucial role of bees in pollinating certain crops was well presented - no bees, no almond crop. It was particularly pleasing that the author proposes no overly simplistic solutions to the many problems posed by intensive beekeeping.
It's hard to imagine a beekeeping book being a page turner, but this one hit the spot. Read Jan 2014. ( )
  mbmackay | Jan 1, 2014 |
This is a highly enjoyable and informative look at modern-day beekeeping. The author tracks a migrant beekeeper, John Miller, as he follows the flowering crops across the western U.S. with literally millions of honeybees. She provides us with a sense of what life as a beekeeper is like, and information about bees themselves. Well written, accessible and fascinating. ( )
  LynnB | Sep 17, 2013 |
An engaging tale of the joys (but mostly trials and tribulations) of modern large-scale beekeeping and its relationship with our food supply, told through the eyes of John Miller, who, along with his beehives, splits his time between Central Valley, California (near almond groves where he gets paid for tree pollination on Valentine's Day), and Gackle, North Dakota (where the summer yields high-grade alfalfa honey). ( )
  jpe9 | Aug 7, 2013 |
Most of us have a vague admiration for bees (as long as they don't sting us) and the hard work that they do producing honey and pollinating our food supply. We have heard that the bees are in danger, but we don't really understand how grave the danger is or the implications. Read this book and you will understand so much more about bees and the strange breed of men (and a few women) who keep them.
Hannah Nordhaus embedded herself in the culture of beekeeping by following John Miller--who has one of the largest beekeeping operations in North America. As she relates her experiences, she also includes informatoin on the history of beekeeping, the inner workings of a beehive, and the modern day threats to the bee population. Stories such as that of a beekeeper who was also a drug runner (who would look for drugs in a beehive?) add a great deal of levity and human interest to the scientific information presented. Indeed, Nordhaus has giftedly interwoven the stories of people in with information that could be dull if presented in a more straightforward manner.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to learn about new topics, and if you have any sort of an interest in bees and/or beekeeping you must put it at the top of your reading list. ( )
  debs4jc | Mar 15, 2012 |
The Beekeeper's Lament explores the mysterious and deadly Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) through the eyes of one of the largest, and most charismatic commercial beekeepers in the US. It follows the history of this strange and mostly unprofitable profession from the first keepers who brought bees to North America all the way to the present day characters who battle mites and pesticides to keep their bees alive.

You couldn't ask for a better person to introduce you to the magic of bees than John Miller. His quirky humor combined with a down-to-earth recognition of the facts and his vast knowledge of the beekeeping world keeps the reader entertained and informed at the same time. Through his story Hannah Nordhaus convinces the reader that bees are important, fascinating creatures and we should care about their fate. When the narrative strays from Miller into the historical parts it gets a bit dryer and harder to follow. As it flies into the future with the incredible, cutting edge research being done on bees, the pace quickens again. It's guaranteed that this book will change the way you look at bees and honey! ( )
  frisbeesage | Oct 23, 2011 |
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What god was it, O Muses, who devised
An art like this? Where was it that such strange
New knowledge came from and was learned by men?
- "Fourth Georgic," The Georgics of Virgil
To Jeanele, who gave me words
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John Miller isn't fond of death.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006187325X, Paperback)

The honey bee is a willing conscript, a working wonder, an unseen and crucial link in America's agricultural industry. But never before has its survival been so unclear—and the future of our food supply so acutely challenged.

Enter beekeeper John Miller, who trucks his hives around the country, bringing millions of bees to farmers otherwise bereft of natural pollinators. Even as the mysterious and deadly epidemic known as Colony Collapse Disorder devastates bee populations across the globe, Miller forges ahead with the determination and wry humor of a true homespun hero. The Beekeeper's Lament tells his story and that of his bees, making for a complex, moving, and unforgettable portrait of man in the new natural world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:57 -0400)

Recounts the experiences of John Miller, one of the foremost migratory beekeepers, who, despite mysterious epidemics that threaten American honey populations--and the nation's agribusiness--forges on and moves ahead in a new natural world.

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