bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Hiving off

A couple of days ago I mentioned the new bee books that have suddenly hit North American bookstores. Well, here's another interesting review, this time from Christian Science Monitor (kindly passed on by Martin).
In Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation, Tammy Horn ... introduces some big political ideas that are very much worth knowing about; for instance, the concept of the American colonies having been “hived off” from England. The comfortable classes there had felt free to think of the poor and unemployed as “drones” who had no useful function in society and could be left to die, metaphorically or otherwise. Many of these “disposable” individuals went on to new and productive lives in the New World, where they came to regard certain officials of the British Colonial government as the real “drones” instead.

Horn's book is also full of the kind of rich detail that a narrow focus, paradoxically, makes room for.

One of my favorite bits is the Revolutionary War story of Charity Crabtree, a Quaker girl charged with warning George Washington of the advance by General Cornwallis's troops.

As she is about to set off on horseback, she knocks over her hives; the bees start attacking the Redcoats. She is able to break free and deliver her message; Washington credits her with saving the country.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom and I have read this story. It's a good one in honor of Patriot's day, a Massachusett's holiday. J of the rock

11:10 pm  

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