A Natural History of the Senses


A New York Times Bestseller

A Natural History of the Senses is a vibrant celebration of our ability to smell, taste, hear, touch, and see. Poet, pilot, naturalist, journalist, essayist, and explorer, Diane Ackerman weaves together scientific fact with lore, history, and voluptuous description. The resulting work is a startling and enchanting account of how human beings experience and savor the world.

It asks and answers such questions as: How do perfumers know which scents allure? Why does music move us? How did kissing on the mouth begin? What is our craving for chocolate? It illuminates the phenomenon of pheromones and looks into the question of whether they control us. Incorporated in its superb reporting and splendid prose are fascinating facts: Humans have about 10,000 taste buds, cows 25,000.  What are they tasting, and what are we missing? It probes such everyday mysteries as why leaves turn color in the fall and why we see them in color; and what it is that causes lovers to feel delight when they touch.

A Natural History of the Senses is at once an ingenuous exploration of the physical processes underlying our perceptions and an eloquent ode to life  a rare combination of science and poetry.

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