American Chestnut

American Chestnut CoverWhat happens when a species vanishes? Once gone, can it be brought back? InĀ American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree, national journalist Susan Freinkel explores these timely questions through the story of one of this country’s most important native trees, at least until the early 20th century, when it was obliterated by an imported plague known as chestnut blight. Billions of trees died in what has been described as “the worst ecological disaster to hit North America since the Ice Age.” Now, a handful of hardy optimists are working to resurrect the tree, some relying on age-old breeding methods and others on modern gene-splicing techniques. Publishers Weekly says “time after time, this impassioned book strikes resonant emotional chords that transform dry facts into dynamic prose.” Mary Roach, bestselling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife says “In prose as strong and quietly beautiful as the American chestnut itself, Freinkel profiles the silent catastrophe of a near-extinction and the impassioned struggle to bring a species back from the brink. A perfect book.” (University of California Press)