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The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America

     by Nordhaus, Hannah

The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America

In the present environmentally-conscious climate which promotes organic gardening and sustainable farming, the notion of keeping bees and having a ready-made supply of honey might seem like a noble undertaking to some. But this romantic idea comes with a whole host of unseen difficulties and hardships that once revealed transform that simple bottle of honey on the grocery store shelf into a miraculous product almost as valuable as gold. John Miller is a modern day frontiersman, a lover of the earth and its creatures, a farmer born and raised--but the livestock John keeps is bees. In a good year he battles a myriad of diseases and pesticides, and two- and four- legged thieves that prey on his bees and their sweet treasure, and he might make enough money to just keep going. In a bad year he battles the weather, runaway bee colonies, and microscopic creatures that invade his bees and leave behind ravaged hives not unlike abandoned tenements whose residents have left in despair. But John Miller is a hero we can root for, a likable character that we truly want to succeed. He epitomizes the American work ethic and the hard-as-nails attitude that constitutes the hearts of those who make their living in agriculture, someone who knows that anything worth having doesn't come easy, and when it comes to keeping bees nothing comes easy.  

The Beekeepers Lament is an enlightening and poetic glimpse into the life of one of the nation's most successful beekeepers. Some readers will love the vivid detail and broad cinematic scope of this book while others will appreciate it for its educational value. Nordhaus' lyrical style and introspective point of view create a compelling narrative. Non-fiction lovers who have read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and Hope's Edge by Frances Moore Lappe will appreciate this book.

Reviewed by cc, 05/12. Other reviews by cc.