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About the book
  • Published: 25 April 2013
  • ISBN: 9781448130085
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

A Sting in the Tale




One man’s quest to save the bumblebee…

A Sunday Times bestseller

Shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize

Dave Goulson has always been obsessed with wildlife, from his childhood menagerie of exotic pets and dabbling in experimental taxidermy to his groundbreaking research into the mysterious ways of the bumblebee and his mission to protect our rarest bees.

Once commonly found in the marshes of Kent, the short-haired bumblebee is now extinct in the UK, but still exists in the wilds of New Zealand, descended from a few queen bees shipped over in the nineteenth century. A Sting in the Tale tells the story of Goulson’s passionate drive to reintroduce it to its native land and contains groundbreaking research into these curious creatures, history’s relationship with the bumblebee, the disastrous effects intensive farming has had on our bee populations and the potential dangers if we are to continue down this path.

  • Pub date: 25 April 2013
  • ISBN: 9781448130085
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

About the Author

Dave Goulson

Dave Goulson studied biology at Oxford University and is now Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex. He has spent the last twenty years studying bumblebees, and has published over 250 scientific articles on their biology. He founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006. He is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller, A Sting in the Tale, which was shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize, A Buzz in the Meadow and Bee Quest.

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Praise for A Sting in the Tale

“[Goulson’s] book is not only enormously informative, but also hugely entertaining: its light touch and constant humour make cutting-edge research a pleasure to read about… For anyone interested in the natural world, this is essential reading.”

Michael McCarthy, Independent

“Goulson reminds himself that he ‘began studying bumblebees not because they are important pollinators but because they are fascinating, because they behave in interesting and mysterious ways, and because they are rather loveable.’ It’s worth reading A Sting in the Tale for the same reasons.”

Hannah Rosefield, Literary Review

“A worthy book of the year.”

Mary Beard, Observer

“Goulson has plenty of wondrous biological stories to tell, as well as the tale of his own struggle to return the short-haired bumblebee to Britain.”

Patrick Barkham, Guardian

“This isn’t one of those natural science books that simply tells you things – it admits how much we don’t know.”

Mark Mason, Spectator

“Goulson combines enthusiasm with academic authority, addressing the amateur beekeeper and professional apiarist in well-judged proportion.”

Iain Finlayson, The Times

“Goulson's case for the importance of bumblebees will live long in my memory for its sheer passion and scientific detail.”

Shami Chakrabarti, Guardian

“Entertaining and enlightening… Wholly engaging…A must for all gardeners.”

Naomi Schillinger, Garden Answers

“A very readable introduction to the remarkable world of bees and bee conservation.”

Good Book Guide

“This book will make you bee-conscious. You will learn a lot, not just about bumblebees, and you will never have a dull moment… So read this book. Do it for the bees.”

Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

“A lovely book”

Big Issue

“As relief and instruction, I haven’t read a more entertaining and endearing book on matters biological than Dave Goulson’s”

Nicholas Lezard, Guardian


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