Most of the authors whose books I report upon and review are not what anyone would call “controversial.” Oh perhaps within certain academic circles they may have disagreements with colleagues, but as far as the general reading public are concerned, they are models of intellectual sobriety. Of course, there are a few who are a bit more unconventional.
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is one to whom the designation “unconventional,” and perhaps even “controversial,” would apply. Many undoubtedly know her from her best-selling book The Hidden Life of Dogs. I first came to read her work with her more recent The Hidden Life of Deer. Still others may have originally met her through her novels. But however one first became aware of her and her work, few can say that she is conventional in either her thinking or her methods – particularly in her ethological studies.
March 2018 will see the publication of another work from her pen, The Hidden Life of Life. Part of the Animalibus series from Penn State University Press, this new work, according to the Press, “provides a plainspoken, big-picture look at the commonality of life on our planet from the littlest microbes to the largest lizards.” As both Ms. Thomas and the Animalibus series in which this new book is included are both often described as “iconoclastic,” I’m very curious indeed to discover what she has written.