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The Sting of the Wild by Justin O. Schmidt

The Sting of the Wild

by Justin O. Schmidt

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
OUCH! DAMN IT! ARRGH! - Justin Schmidt hits a home run in his publication of "The Sting of the Wild". Schmidt entices the reader to travel with him though time and across the planet as he teaches us how insects use stings, venom, and mimicry to survive in a ant-eat ant world. His use of easy language and storytelling style allow us to walk with him through jungles, deserts, woodlands and backyards to encounter ferocious monsters which rival any sci-fy constructions. These real life monsters - ants, wasps and bees come to life as never before. Schmidt is really stung in this account of his work - he makes the fire of the venom pulsing in his body come to life as he calmly describes what is happening in terms of physiological systems and neurological signaling pathways (We can watch from the safety of our nook). Huh?? This sounds like science - It is! But Schmidt makes scientific complexities sound like a child's primer as he weaves the narrative chapter by chapter, As a beekeeper who learned from an wise elder, I just now learned many of the reasons why we do things such as hold our breath, or breathe out to the side when entering a hive without a veil. Your knowledge and amazement of our world will expand dramatically as you take this walk into Schmidts world of "THE STING".

Disclaimer: I received an audio book of this from library thing for review. ( )
1 vote difreda | May 25, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A detailed survey of stinging insects looking at how they evolved, their life cycles, and various cultural meanings. The author is fascinated with the reactions caused by stings and how that has become such a source of fear and instinctual wariness in humans.

I enjoyed parts of this book, but insects are really not my area. The author is obviously fascinated by his chosen career but failed to fully capture my casual attention. Much of the book felt like unrelated scientific articles about various topics. As a result, parts were repetitive and others just tedious. I think the book would be more accessible to a wider audience if an overarching narrative were constructed to place all this information into a clearer framework. Most of the book is just a prolonged discourse of dry facts interspersed with bits about the author's personal experience and some few beliefs of other cultures. ( )
  Juva | May 23, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The author is an entomologist at the Southwest Biological Institute, University of Arizona where he studied a group of insects called Hymenoptera. There is something about a man who would deliberately subject himself to insect stings to develop a pain scale that just screams dedicated scientist. Doctor Schmidt is such a man. His book covers the usual yellowjackets and wasps along with lessor known sweat bees and tarantula hawks. The book has a bit of biological history, insect evolution and curiosity that Is both intriguing and yet a bit masochistic. His comprehensive pain index includes 83 insect stings rated on a spectrum of 1 to 4. One sting is described as “instantaneous, electrifying, excruciating, and totally debilitating”. This is biology best read than experienced.

L.J. Ganser does a fine job narrating the audio compact disc version. He other narration works include three novels by James Ellroy: Because the Night, Blood on the Moon, and Suicide Hill. He has also appeared on stage in New York and in several episodes of the television show Law and Order. ( )
  bemislibrary | May 21, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Good non-fiction book that will teach you oodles about stinging insects. The book is interspersed with humorous and interesting stories by the author so it makes a nice read. Particularly appreciated was the information on chemical make up of various venom. Would recommend to anyone interested in the natural world. ( )
  happytreehugger | May 15, 2017 |
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