Of all the forms of life historically divided into kingdoms, only two – plants and animals – have attracted large bands of human followers. Entire organisations and university departments are devoted to understanding, controlling, and conserving plants and animals, and our cultural domains are saturated with their likenesses. Two of the other kingdoms, Protista and Monera, have arrived on our radar more recently and most often in the guise of pathogens, though recent advances in microbiology have seen the microbiome take on a whole new cultural salience. That leaves Carl Linnaeus’s ‘thievish and voracious beggars’, the fungi.
Andrea Gaynor reviews 'The Allure of Fungi' by Alison Pouliot
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Andrea Gaynor, an environmental historian, is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Western Australia. Her research seeks to use the contextualising and narrative power of history to help address real-world problems. Her most recent book, co-edited with Nick Rose, is Reclaiming the Urban Commons: The past, present and future of food growing in Australian towns and cities (UWAP 2018).
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