Review: The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben

Rating: 2 out of 5

This is a hard one to review. I enjoyed the subject, but not the author’s take on it. Taking a look at trees as actively living creatures is a mystifying concept to the vast majority, and it was my feeling that this book should change that — but the author’s attitude makes me expect that Winnie the Pooh will jump into the next scene.

It is clear that the author enjoys trees, and in this I fully support him. What Mr Wohlleben failed to provide in this work, however, is the substantive proof that I was hoping (including descriptions of the research he refers to). He even mostly fails to ask a critical question, instead relying on statements along the lines of “When I managed a forest” and “This is logical”; this lack of foresight in providing the first barrier to doubtful people makes for a critical omission.

This isn’t improved by the language that the work uses which is constantly denigrating the understanding of the reader. In fact, the biggest fault of this work quite possibly is that the author talks about trees as if they were people instead of trees — and the latter is the element in which the (indeed living) creatures should be respected and thought about.

There are also a lot of other topics going on here which could have better served their functions in other books (such as the previously mentioned “When I managed a forest” series). Lastly, I would add that the English edition seems to purposefully use ridiculous units to complicate comprehension.

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