All Creatures Small and Great
How Insects Make the World
by Dr George McGavin
Narrated by Dr George McGavin
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Pub Date 24 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2022
Entomologist and broadcaster Dr George McGavin presents All Creatures Great and Small: How Insects Make the World, an Original Audiobook Production by W F Howes
If you are at all interested in life on our planet, then you need to know about insects. They are the most successful group of animals ever to have lived on Earth. Making up three quarters of all animal species, insects conquered the planet long ago. They were among the very first animals to appear on land and were the first to take to the air. Their total biomass is at least ten times that of all humans and our livestock combined.
This world is not ours alone. We are newcomers on a planet made and maintained by insects.
If we are going to appreciate the massive part that insects play in the ecology of our planet we need to understand where they came from and how they became so successful. The survival of insects is key to our own survival.
Join Dr George McGavin on an exciting audio journey to help us understand the fascinating world of insects. Along the way we are transported from bee-filled meadows to the forest floor, following Dr McGavin as he meets national treasures Sir David Attenborough, Alison Steadman and Jane Horrocks, and a range of experts such as Professors Stephen Simpson, Helen Roy, Phil Stevenson, Karim Vahed and Erica McAlister to understand more about their passion for these incredible creatures.
All Creatures Small and Great is an important and timely work to engage people with wildlife, when the world is rapidly losing its biodiversity.
Features bonus audio content including full-length interviews and immersive binaural nature sounds for focus and relaxation.
Guest contributors include:
Sir David Attenborough – Broadcaster and Natural Historian
Alison Steadman – Actress and Ambassador for the London Wildlife Trust
Dr Erica McAlister – Senior Curator, Natural History Museum
Professor Philip C. Stevenson – Chemical Ecologist, Kew Gardens
Professor Stephen Simpson – Biologist and Biomedical Scientist
Professor Helen Roy – President of the Royal Entomological Society
Professor Karim Vahed – Entomologist specializing in insect behaviour
Anne Riley –Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society
Jane Horrocks – Actress and co-host of the podcast Queen Bees
A Note From the Publisher
“George McGavin is a rarity” Sir David Attenborough
“In this remarkable audiobook George McGavin combines his comprehensive understanding of the biology of insects with his own personal tales and those of experts to explain the extraordinary success of the insects, and to show their fundamental importance to life on earth - past, present and future. This audiobook is a paean to insects and a salutary story for our times. McGavin speaks with a passion that is founded in deep expertise of these small creatures but with an eye to the big picture.” PROFESSOR STEPHEN SIMPSON
|DURATION||8 Hours, 27 Minutes|
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 12 members
Author narrated his own book and was a perfect fit - unsurprisingly since his passion for the subject shone through, he read the book with the emphasis he would have given each passage and he is a television presenter to boot. In addition, there were several snippets of interviews with experts in the field (no pun intended) peppered throughout - including David Attenborough and Alison Steadman. While only relevant passages were audio quoted within the spoken text, the interviews are included at the end are fascinating.
As to the substance of the book itself, anyone who grew up on David Attenborough programs and similar documentaries, will find a lot to enjoy here. I have a background in biology and genetics, and while entomology isn't my first love I'm definitely interested, both in general and from a conservational biology point of view. McGavin completely captures the reader's attention with both interesting facts and amusing anecdotes. I even learned a few things I even learned a few things I didn't know, and I've been grubbing around in the UK countryside since I was knee-high to a goat. Insects are absolutely essential to our survival. When we remove a link in the food chain, we collapse it. And if we're not careful, we are going to drive ourselves to extinction with out thoughtless waste of resources and our ignorant persecution of other species. However, McGavin points out that we can do something about this just by making small changes because if everyone did, it would add up to big change. He doesn't mince words about potential ecological collapse, but he doesn't present the problem as being so huge that we don't want to look at it either. I have a couple of minor disagreements with him on issues such as what caused the Black Death of 1347 (he seems to have confused it with the 16th C Great Plague, which actually was caused by Yesinia Pestis spread by rat fleas. The Black Death was most likely a droplet based transmission - you just can't kill off half of Europe's population with a disease that relies on an animal vector - it spreads too slowly.) But then he is neither a historian or an epidemiologist so we'll let that slide. His point that while insects may spread diseases, they have saved far more lives by pushing plants to produce chemicals we now rely on as medicines for some of our most deadly diseases is a good one. And of course, without pollinating insects, we can kiss goodbye to about two thirds of the worlds food supply. Sobering thoughts but presented with genuine zest and compassion. Highly recommend.
This world is not ours alone. We are newcomers on a planet made and maintained by insects.
If we are going to appreciate the massive part that insects play in the ecology of our planet we need to understand where they came from and how they became so successful. The survival of insects is key to our own survival. This is the objective of this book by Entomologist George McGavin and teach he did.
I found this book absolutely fascinating. I enjoyed learning the knowledge of George McGavin ( who I found very easy listen to) and the range of experts he interviewed and their personal experiences and thoughts on the many topics such as global warming, the economy, re-wilding, biodiversity & extinction. I am pretty sure everyone would learn something from this book. It is a must for anyone with a interest in nature.
My thanks go to the author, publisher and Netgalley for providing this arc in return for a honest review.
I am so pleased I was drawn to the beautiful beetle on the cover of All Creatures Small and Great: How Insects Make the World! This book is chocked full of amazing entomological facts and information. Some of it rather creepy (botfly, parasitic wasps and the like) but still utterly fascinating. This audiobook was narrated (very well!) by the author Entomologist and broadcaster Dr George McGavin as he shares his knowledge on the small but mightily crucial insects we are lucky enough to share this planet with.
The plus side of the audiobook has to be the conversations he has with a wide array of characters, including David Attenborough, who have their own insights, theories and facts to share. I found it gripping stuff and believe we all need to do everything we can to keep insects alive, thriving and doing what they do without our involvement and chemical treatments meant to kill them. The heartening bit, for me, was George saying how insects, despite our best effort, are likely to carry on long after we have driven ourselves into extinction. Hhmmm....maybe someone should tell the pollinators. They could use a bit of good news. An excellent read, I highly recommend All Creatures Small and Great.
With thanks to NetGalley, Dr George McGavin, and the publishers for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I loved it. It’s interesting and well performed, informative and exciting.
The research and the information presented is engaging and not watered down - even the kind of graphic bits like parasites and the gritty details of insect life.
The interviews with fabulous people - including the one and only David Attenborough - are presented in full in appendices which I love. Additionally the recordings are delightful.
This audiobook is a phenomenal example of what the format can be. Combining interviews and prose with recordings and examples. This audio book really highlights the gulf between a book that’s been made into an audiobook just to tick the box, and an audiobook truly crafted to the format.
10/10 - an absolutely brilliant book, and an even better audiobook.
Please note: My standard audiobook disclaimer applies, I listen to almost all audiobooks at increased playback speed, but always listen to a portion at regular speed to get a feel for the narrator (in this case I want to note that I listened to all the recordings at regular speed).
An advance copy of this audiobook was provided for review purposes with courtesy of NetGalley, W.F. Howes Ltd, and the author Dr. George McGavin, who also narrates the book. He is the perfect fit for the audiobook and I immensely enjoyed it. The audiobook also includes interviews with a number of insect enthusiasts such as Sir David Attenborough, Alison Steadman, Phil Stevenson, Steve Simpson, and Helen Roy, as well as insect noise recordings.
I requested this audiobook because I like non-fiction books about nature in general. Because of this, I listen to a fair number of books of similar topics, which makes me a bit of tough audience. An ordinary nature book no longer satisfy me, and some books pulls towards alarmist and depressive, which draw people away. I also am not particularly a big fan of bugs - so I was interested in the book but not terribly excited before started to listen to this book.
As it turned out, entomologist Dr. McGavin introduces fascinating facts about insects while illustrating why insects life and their welfare matters to us. It was highly entertaining, interesting and educational. Unless you have fear of insects (and indeed some of their behaviors are terrifying) I would highly recommend to listen to this book and learn something new about creatures that's are so near to us, wherever you are.
I would imagine the book is appropriate for all ages, especially for children middle school and older.
Thank you for allowing me to take a listen to this book. It was delightful. I would add this to one of the top 10 books I listened to that were published in 2022!
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