paperback3DWinner of 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies

Finalist for 2013 Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction

Runner-up for 2013 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

Winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award

Winner of the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature

A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest

“…a welcome entry in the world of nature writers. He thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist.” James Gorman, The New York Times

“Very much a contemporary biologist in his familiarity with genetics and population ecology, he also has the voracious synthetic imagination of a 19th-century naturalist. Most important, Mr. Haskell is a sensitive writer, conjuring with careful precision the worlds he observes and delighting the reader with insightful turns of phrase.” Hugh Raffles, The Wall Street Journal

“…focusing not on the showy megafauna but on the small and fundamental forest dwellers, from glimmering lichen to slow-moving slugs. He writes with a scientist’s meticulous attention to detail and a poet’s way with words. As he spins his tales of the tiny and the ordinary, we see the big picture issues, from evolution to climate change, unfold in the everyday world.” from the PEN/E. O. Wilson Judges’ Citation

“…a new genre of nature writing, located between science and poetry.” Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

“David Haskell’s The Forest Unseen is a ‘nature book,’ and a great one, but it’s also and less obviously a book about human nature. You can’t read its lyrical, tactile prose without confronting the whole question of our place in the natural order, and of what we’re doing here. If we want to last much longer on this planet, we’ll have to learn to think differently and more deeply about those things, and Haskell can be one of our guides.” —John Jeremiah Sullivan, author of Pulphead

“An extraordinary, intimate view of life… Exceptional observations of the biological world…” Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review for “books of remarkable merit.”

The Forest Unseen was published on March 15th, 2012, by The Viking Press, an imprint of Penguin USA. The Penguin paperback edition was published on March 26th, 2013. A short introductory video is available on YouTube.

David Haskell’s interviews on The Diane Rehm Show and  To The Best of our Knowledge are now available online. Links to full reviews are here.

Selected by Kirkus Reviews for their Best of 2012 review.


Japanese edition: ミクロの森: 1m2の原生林が語る生命・進化・地球 Translator, Miki Naoko. Tsukiji Shokan, Tokyo. 2013.

Italian edition: La foresta nascosta. Translator: Daria Cavallini. Giulio Einaudi, Torino. 2014.

Spanish edition: En un metro de bosque. Translator: Guillem Usandizaga. Turner, Madrid. 2014.

French edition: Un an dans la vie d’une forêt. Translator: Thierry Piélat. Flammarion, Paris. 2014.

Korean edition: 숲에서 우주를 보다. Translator: Seungyoung Noh. Banyangjangbon, Seoul. 2014.

Chinese edition (simplified characters): 看不见的森林. Translator: Xiong Jiao. The Commercial Press, Hong Kong. 2014.

Chinese edition (traditional characters): 森林祕境.Translator: Baosen Xiao. Cite Publishing, Taiwan. 2014.

German edition. Das Verborgene leben des waldes. Translator: Christine Ammann. Verlag Antje Kunstmann. Forthcoming, 2015.


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