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Download The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring Audiobook, by Richard Preston Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,676 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Preston Narrator: Richard Preston Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2007 ISBN: 9780743561228
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Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained—the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. The biggest redwoods are over a thousand years old, rising more than thirty-five stories in what’s left of the once vast ancient redwood forest. Believed to be impossible to ascend, these majestic giants have remained unexplored until recently, when a tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists discovered a lost, dangerous, and hauntingly beautiful world high above California.

In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of these young voyagers who risk everything to explore the redwood canopy, where the massive trees form flying buttresses and cathedral-like structures in the air. They find a vertical Eden of hanging gardens and rare creatures, an untouched paradise where it’s possible to stretch hammocks between tree branches and make love three hundred feet in the air. But as they move through the treetops suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, these young adventurers know that the smallest mistake can result in a plunge to one’s death.

Preston mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to recount the discovery of this amazing world—a grand adventure by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, from a master of nonfiction narrative.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An exciting book [that] combines the thrill of exploration with the quirkiness of those who choose it as their lives’ work.” 

    New York Times

  • “[Preston] is without rivals in his ability to relate complex biological system to a lay audience. Aside from the precious groves of redwoods, the stars of this narrative are Sillett and Taylor. Their methods of exploration may be unorthodox, but their reverence for our vanishing natural world is admirable and worth emulating.” 

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “Intensely dramatic…The scientific story goes beyond the discovery of the tallest trees to the astonishing biology within their canopies.” 

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

  • “[The Wild Trees] is at its heart a science book, describing in accessible terms the wonders of this newly charted ecosystem…[Preston] draws sharp, often moving portraits of his cast of modern-day explorers.” 

    ForbesLife

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosemarie | 2/19/2014

    " A wonderful true story about the passion of the people who have discovered, and who work to understand and protect the tallest trees in the world. Focuses mainly on the magnificent redwoods of California. Narrative is a little dramatic, but the story and characters are very engaging. Made me fall in love with redwood trees some of which are 1500 years old and 25 stories tall! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 2/4/2014

    " Not as good as The Hot Zone, but still interesting despite a few dry parts. Definitely for botanists and tree climbers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adrienne | 2/3/2014

    " Interesting info on how one can study a forest canopy 370 feet above the ground and including the fact that there are species undiscovered that live there! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 1/14/2014

    " Reading this book under the tall trees themselves, during a week-long camping trip in the Redwoods, was perfect. Still, it's not a perfect book. There is some excellent material here, but Preston made some imperfect decisions on what to leave in, and I would have appreciated a deeper exploration of the ecology / science of the story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ruhegeist | 1/11/2014

    " I learned how much I hate aspects of humanity. The constant rape of our planet for our own ease and desire with no thought to consequence. Preston had an interesting statement regarding "homogenizing the earth's biosphere". Unfortunately it is easily lost in the last minute soap box rant at the end of the book. While I can believe there is a conscience attempt to do this to our society/commercialization, I wouldn't go so far as to attribute this to the reason we are stripping the world of its biodiversity. Big picture on the book...I would have preferred more information on ecosystems, etc rather then the lives of the researchers and how many climbs on virgin redwoods they performed. Just what were some of the findings on all that research they did? The jumping around chronologically was confusing and also detracted from the readability. Good intro to tall tree climbing but continue on researching or look elsewhere if you have true interest in the subject. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kevin Helm | 1/3/2014

    " A fascinating depiction of what it's like to hike the Redwoods in northern California using only rope, passion, and a whole lot of faith. This book made me feel insignificant to these magnificent trees that are more than just trees. You get an inside look at a group of individuals living solely to explore the unknown regions of the Redwoods. Read to see what they find! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bryan | 12/30/2013

    " If you like trees you need to read this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennie | 12/30/2013

    " Very interesting topic, and the adventure of climbing these monstrous trees, hunting for the tallest, camping in them, measuring them, falling from them, exploring their crowns... all captivated me. But I found most of the characters arrogant and annoying, and the second half of the book was poorly organized. Even so, upon finishing I did long to take a trip back to the northwest to see these forests again. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Pfefferle | 12/24/2013

    " It read like fiction---really interesting characters. I learned a lot about determination, finding your passion, and of course, trees!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Margaret | 12/20/2013

    " So far so good. Had to return to library. Should check out again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin Yaklin | 12/10/2013

    " As well researched as the Hot Zone, but not as exciting. Nevertheless, I learned and I will never again be ambivalent about saving our forests. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zed | 11/30/2013

    " A wonderful introduction to old trees and how they are studied. Forget about climbing a rock--climb a tree where the first (strong) limbs are 300+ feet up. Better yet, try sleeping in one... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bea | 11/24/2013

    " Overall enjoyable. Lots of overwrought descriptions. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joanna | 11/20/2013

    " Interesting info on the canopies of red woods and other tall trees. But, there has to be someone other than Simon Winchester and Diane Ackerman who can write a decent (i.e., a joy to read) book of scientific nonfiction. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alexis | 11/17/2013

    " the information about the redwoods was interesting, but the detail-laden stream of consciousness writing style was very odd. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patricia | 11/7/2013

    " an amazing tale of love for nature's tallest and longest living creations----the explorers climbed them, camped there, gave them names, and mapped the extensive treetops-----the trees became individuals not just wood or timber to be harvested-- "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michaela | 6/18/2013

    " Truth is stranger than fiction. Ordinary people with all their quirks doing extraordinary things. One of my top ten reads for 2008. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mrs. Kucinski | 4/11/2013

    " I didn't read the whole book I read parts here and parts there. I am using excerpts of this for a non-fiction unit that is in progress. I like what I've read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Davis | 3/12/2013

    " An interesting way to interweave information about giant trees with the lives of those who love and study them. Although the title is not an attention-grabber, the book is quite well written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 2/7/2013

    " I don't think I've climbed a tree since I was about 7 years old, but this book really made me want to run right out and jump into one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Angie | 12/19/2012

    " Great science, great adventure, great nonfiction. Thanks MPeavler. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Connolly | 5/19/2012

    " Even I got tired of readign that much about trees... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 4/26/2012

    " What a great book! I love the way Richard Preston writes about non-fiction subjects. And I have, since a boy, been so interested in the California Redwood trees. I want to see these sights he wrote about, and experience the world of the Redwoods! You'll love it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Earle | 11/21/2011

    " Wow! One can get lost in the passionately written book about the the world's largest and oldest organisms. If you like passion, science and adventure this is the book for you. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Parker | 4/22/2011

    " I so want to get the gear to travel through some forest canopy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charissa | 4/17/2011

    " It made me want to sleep at the tops of trees just so flying squirrels would climb into my sleeping bag. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 4/14/2011

    " A totally kick-ass fun read. :P "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patience | 3/29/2011

    " This is an amazing story of something I knew nothing about. True story of recent discovery of tallest redwoods and the people that found them--and climbed them-and played in them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kasa | 3/23/2011

    " Going truly where no man has gone before. Who knew there was such a world up there. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/3/2011

    " LOVED this book. Interesting and just a great read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle | 3/2/2011

    " Amazing story of an amazing, awe inspiring life form "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 asdf | 2/23/2011

    " I do not usually read non fiction but this one was a page turner and wanted me to go tree climbing in the Redwoods while i was reading it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 2/10/2011

    " I love the redwood forests! Must read more about them! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina | 1/27/2011

    " I loved this book. Preston really brought to life the science of climbing the largest trees in the world and the quirky people who pioneered it out of their fascination with the old growth redwoods. Now I long to be up there with them. "

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About the Author
Author Richard Preston

Richard Preston is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Cobra Event and The Demon in the Freezer. A writer for the New Yorker since 1985, Preston won the American Institute of Physics Award and is the only nondoctor ever to have received the CDC’s Champion of Prevention Award. Preston attended Pomona College and recievied his PhD from Princeton University. He lives outside New York City.