by Roland Ennos
Publication date: December 1, 2020
Hardcover: 336 pages
In a thought-provoking exploration, “The Age of Wood” by Roland Ennos delves into the pivotal role that wood and trees have played in the intricate web of our global ecosystem. It unravels their significance in various aspects of human history, including our evolution and the ebbs and flows of empires.
Despite being the Earth’s dominant species, humanity’s rise from its primate origins to becoming top predators and inhabitants of the world is a remarkable journey. But how did we accomplish such feats, progressing from tree-dwelling creatures to builders of complex civilizations with a globalized economy? The revelation offered by Roland Ennos is that our profound connection with wood holds the answer.
With exceptional finesse, Ennos seamlessly weaves together recent research and existing knowledge from a diverse array of disciplines such as primatology, anthropology, archaeology, history, architecture, engineering, and carpentry. His ambitious endeavor involves reinterpreting human history, highlighting how our exploitation of wood’s unique attributes has left an indelible mark on our physical forms, mental faculties, societal structures, and daily existence.
This compelling narrative embarks on an extensive ten-million-year voyage. It commences in regions like Southeast Asia and West Africa, where great apes once swung through the treetops, building nests and crafting rudimentary tools. The journey proceeds to East Africa, where early human societies relied on wood in their pursuit of sustenance. It then takes us on a compelling exploration of architectural wonders in China and Japan, revealing the importance of wood in constructing temples. Finally, the narrative reaches Northern England, where archaeologists trace the transformative role of coal in propelling humanity into the industrial age.
The book also confronts the environmental repercussions of industrialization, which involved the substitution of timber with fossil fuels and other resource-intensive materials. “The Age of Wood” not only underscores the vital role of trees in the intricate tapestry of human existence and evolution but also advocates for a return to more sustainable, traditional practices in tree cultivation, utilization, and understanding.
Through the harmonious fusion of history and science, Ennos presents a captivating and authoritative narrative. “The Age of Wood” is a compelling work that will intrigue anyone with an interest in nature, the environment, and the intricate processes that have shaped the world as we know it.