The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf (PROGRESS UPDATE)

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf



Part 3 of this book deals with Humboldt's return to Europe, his reception by the inhabitants and his book publishing.  Humboldt was quite happy to share his specimens with others and help out young scientists.  This section also gives a nice summary of the political climate in Europe and South America at this time and how this affected (and was affected by) Humboldt.  He might not have been a gun-toting revolutionary, but Humboldt had a large influence of the South American evolutions.  We also get to find out what happened to Aime Bonpland. 


"Humboldt enjoyed meeting other scientists to exchange ideas and share information, but life in Europe increasingly frustrated him.  Throughout these years of  political upheaval he had remained restless and, with Europe so deeply torn, he felt that there was little holding him."


Humboldt spend a great deal of time and effort trying to convince the East India Company to let him visit India to investigate the Himalaya so that he could gather data for a comparison with the Andes.  While he had published many successful and popular book and was admired by British poets, thinkers and scientists, the East India Company had other ideas. 


Andrea Wulf manages to convey Humboldt's frustrations with his travel impediments and with time-wasting social functions quite well.  She manages to keep a fast paced narrative despite not having any grand jungle adventures to fall back on and somehow makes publishing books, doing experiments and visiting people sound exciting.  In this section, the author also manages to convey how many important and influential scientists Humboldt influenced and was influenced by - an interesting amalgamation and sorting of ideas.