Sounds Wild and Broken by David George Haskell | Black Inc.

Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution's Creativity and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction

Awards for Sounds Wild and Broken

  • Longlisted, 2023 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
  • Finalist, 2023 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction

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About the author

David George Haskell

David Haskell is a professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of the South and a Guggenheim Fellow. He is the author of the multi-award-winning books The Forest Unseen (2012) and The Songs of Trees (2020), which …

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Praise for Sounds Wild and Broken

‘Sounds Wild and Broken is a symphony, filled with the music of life. It is fascinating, heartbreaking, and beautifully written.’ —Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

‘In luminous prose, David Haskell teaches us to hear the beauty and tragedy of the whole history of life on Earth. Sounds Wild and Broken will change the way you listen to nature and to yourself, and may this help us heal our planet before it’s too late.’ —David Rothenberg, author of Nightingales in Berlin and Why Birds Sing

‘A stunning call to reinhabit our ancient communion with sound. David George Haskell’s gorgeous prose and deep research meld wonder with intellect, inspiring reverence, delight, and a sense of urgency in protecting aural diversity. The voice of the earth is singing with beauty and need—Haskell shows us the extraordinary gift and responsibility of being available to listen.’ —Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit, and Mozart’s Starling

‘This brilliant book will change the way you hear everything. Haskell takes us deep inside the music of human and non-human life, revealing one marvel after another, and makes a powerful case for conservation that not only preserves species, but the sensory experience of life itself.’ —Jonathan Meiburg, musician and author of A Most Remarkable Creature

‘This is how scientific writing should be, and almost never is: suffused with wonder and pathos, throbbing with the music of the wild. Haskell conducts a magnificent symphony here. He shows us – no, lets us hear – that we are resonant animals in a thrillingly resonant universe, and that our fulfilment depends on finding the frequency that will make us resonate with everything else. His superb book sent me on my way singing, and trying to join in with the songs I heard on the way.’ —Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast and Being a Human

‘David George Haskell shows us why we should treasure our sonic diversity and act to protect it.’ —Happy Mag

‘… affirms Haskell as a laureate for the earth, his finely tuned scientific observations made more potent by his deep love for the wild he hopes to save’ —The New York Times

‘In Sounds Wild and Broken, David George Haskell has done for listening what Rebecca Solnit did for walking. He has taken something ubiquitous, ephemeral and largely unconsidered and made it the touchstone for an expansive and revelatory exploration of life on Earth.’ —The Saturday Paper

‘In Sounds Wild and Broken, David George Haskell once again expands our sensory universe, revealing not only the grand variety of earthly song, music, and speech but the astonishing ways in which sound originates, evolves, and binds us together. His careful listening will sharpen your ears.’ —Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beast

‘Listen to David Haskell: He will transform the way you hear the world. Haskell is one of those rare scientists who illuminates his topic – the magnificent natural sonic diversity of our planet, what we have to gain from its richness, what we have to lose from its diminishment – in lyrical, erudite prose that both informs and inspires. This masterful book is a gift of deep aural understanding and a resplendent read.’ —Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Bird Way

‘This book … explores the sounds of an entire planet, from crickets’ stridulation — one of the most ancient animal songs of all, dating back 270 million years — to birdsong and human music-making. And human noise pollution: to the planetary cacophony, this book adds its own anguished environmental cry.’ —The Sunday Times

‘Haskell expands our sensory universe by taking us into unfamiliar aural terrain beneath the surface of marshes, oceans and caves, attuning our ears and minds to the sonic riches that could be lost if we don’t act to preserve them.’ —The Sydney Morning Herald, Nonfiction Pick of the Week

‘Sounds Wild and Broken affirms Haskell as a laureate for the earth, his finely tuned scientific observations made more potent by his deep love for the wild he hopes to save.’ —Cynthia Barnett, The New York Times

‘This book is an appeal to connect to nature by listening.’ —The Australian

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