BRIT Reads Book Club (ZOOM)

If you love to read and you're passionate about botany, natural history, sustainability, and other similar topics, then join us the third Monday of each month for the BRIT Reads Book Club. This informal group meets from noon - 1 pm in the Oak Conference Room at BRIT. Bring your lunch and bring a friend and come tell us what you thought about our book of the month. No time to read but still want to hear what people have to say about a particular book? No problem! We'd love to have you!

Program Information

Time: Third Monday of each month, 12pm to 1pm

Room: Zoom

Book List for 2016-2020

Point of Contact

Brandy Watts

BRIT Librarian

If you love to read and you're passionate about botany, natural history, sustainability, and other similar topics, then join us the third Monday of each month for the BRIT Reads Book Club. This informal group meets from noon - 1 pm in the Oak Conference Room at BRIT. Bring your lunch and bring a friend and come tell us what you thought about our book of the month. No time to read but still want to hear what people have to say about a particular book? No problem! We'd love to have you!

Upcoming Events

Plants Go To War; A Botanical History of World War II (ZOOM)

by Judith Sumner

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Plants Go to War: A Botanical History of World War II by Judith Sumner (August 2019)

As the first botanical history of World War II, Plants Go to War examines military history from the perspective of plant science. From victory gardens to drugs, timber, rubber, and fibers, plants supplied materials with key roles in victory. Vegetables provided the wartime diet both in North America and Europe, where vitamin-rich carrots, cabbages, and potatoes nourished millions. Chicle and cacao provided the chewing gum and chocolate bars in military rations. In England and Germany, herbs replaced pharmaceutical drugs; feverbark was in demand to treat malaria, and penicillin culture used a growth medium made from corn. Rubber was needed for gas masks and barrage balloons, while cotton and hemp provided clothing, canvas, and rope. Timber was used to manufacture Mosquito bombers, and wood gasification and coal replaced petroleum in European vehicles. Lebensraum, the Nazi desire for agricultural land, drove Germans eastward; troops weaponized conifers with shell bursts that caused splintering. Ironically, the Nazis condemned non-native plants, but adopted useful Asian soybeans and Mediterranean herbs. Jungle warfare and camouflage required botanical knowledge, and survival manuals detailed edible plants on Pacific islands. Botanical gardens relocated valuable specimens to safe areas, and while remote locations provided opportunities for field botany, Trees surviving in Hiroshima and Nagasaki live as a symbol of rebirth after vast destruction.

"In this impressively researched exploration, esteemed ethnobotanist Sumner takes a scholarly yet totally accessible approach to the myriad ways plant materials were critical to both Allied and Axis war efforts. With balanced attention to domestic sacrifices and ingenuity, Sumner's astonishing discoveries make this a fascinating read for botany buffs and those steeped in military history." --Booklist

"A unique blend of botanical and military history... Plants Go to War is an original and meticulous study that is as informed and informative as it is accessibly organized and reader friendly in presentation...recommended" --Midwest Book Review

"[Sumner's] research is exhaustive...authoritative and informative...destined to be a classic source on this topic"==The Herb Society of America

"The comprehensive volume takes the story far beyond the victory gardens that perhaps immediately come to mind when discussing WWII and plants. Although this topic is addressed, the book spans across the European and Pacific theaters, touching Allies and Axis civilians and combatants."--The Times of Israel

"The first botanical history of World War II"--Southern Naturalist

"In all our years of experience with books about Wold War II, never have we seen one quite like this...a big, serious study of the subject" --Stone & Stone

Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers (ZOOM)

by Amy Stewart

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“Engaging and scrupulously reported”  Constance Casey for The New York Times

Award-winning author Amy Stewart takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes look at the flower industry and how it has sought—for better or worse—to achieve perfection.  Stewart traveled the world for a year to research the $40 billion dollar cut-flower industry. She tracks down the hybridizers, geneticists, farmers, and florists working to invent, manufacture, and sell flowers that are bigger, brighter, and sturdier than anything nature can provide.  At every turn she discovers the startling intersection of nature and technology, of sentiment and commerce. The author also raises environmental issues related to the trade, as well as the concerns of florists. 

Remarkable Creatures (ZOOM)

by Tracy Chevalier

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“Chevalier admirably weaves historical figures and actual events into a compelling narrative.”
—San Francisco Chronicle 

Remarkable Creatures is a beautifully written book about two remarkable women, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot. A fictional account based on real-life characters and events, Remarkable Creatures is set in the early 1800's in the coastal town of Lyme Regis, England.  Mary Anning, born in a poor family, was from an early age fascinated by the fossils that could then be picked up on the beaches.  Her discoveries of fossils leads to conflict with the religious authorities in town and friendship with Elizabeth Philpot, a woman of higher social class who is also fascinated by the fossils. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.

The Lochsa Story: Land Ethics in the Bitterroot Mountains (ZOOM)

By Bud Moore

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"Bud Moore's The Lochsa Story is epic. It's an autobiography, a history, and a manifesto; a massive work of nonfiction incorporating folklore and ecology." --Zach Dundas, Missoula Independent

This story chronicles the history of the Bitterroot Mountains, the preservation of forest landscapes, early Native Americans, the Lewis and Clark Trail, and Bud Moore's life as the last of the mountain men to live there and join the U.S. Forest Service. He became Head Ranger of Powell Ranger District, Chief of the Forest Service Region in Missoula, Montana, the leading authority on fire management and smoke-jumpers of the northwestern forests and the system of fire lookouts and fire suppression.   Moore is profoundly dedicated to the forest and all of the natural elements, including people, that make it whole. He believes anyone who works with the land must have a feel for it. "When in doubt, go slow," he advises. "Be humble. Learn from your mistakes."

Past Events