In this playful yet informative manifesto, a leading plant neurobiologist presents the eight fundamental pillars on which the life of plants--and by extension, humans--rests. A short charter based on the general principles that regulate the common life of plants, The Nation of Plants establishes norms applicable to all living beings. Compared to our constitutions, which place humans at the center of the entire juridical reality, in conformity with an anthropocentricism that reduces to things all that is not human, plants offer us a revolution.
Could it be . . . is there any chance . . . that a glimmer of hope is still to be found . . . in the Kingdom Vegetabile? Might the wordless, motionless vegetables, so long considered mere 'things,' come to our rescue? This is the bracingly cheerful premise of the latest book by the storied pioneer of plant neurobiology, Stefano Mancuso ... here [Mancuso] goes a step beyond the study of vegetal minds into complete anthropomorphizing ... Mancuso lifts his gaze from a minute inspection of the flora to take a more global perspective, intertwining his fresh narrative with strains of thought drawn from biological history, ethnobotany, postcolonial theory, sociology, and philosophy ... Mancuso’s fluent multidisciplinary approach, relayed in warmly relatable prose, is evident ... Mancuso [...] insists that, through significant reorganization, will we be able to provide for all.
With The Nation of Plants, [Mancuso] veers more directly into the political implications of plant intelligence. Much of the book is a rebuke aimed at humans who might think they're the superior species on the planet ... There's less science and more politics in this book than in his previous works, but his argument is compelling and important ... it's also innovative ... The Nation of Plants is a whimsical, speculative foray into applying plant neurobiology to humanity's problems ...
... well-written, informative and surprisingly brief ... Mancuso is at his best when exploring the sheer abundance and adaptability of plants ... Perhaps not surprisingly, Mancuso falters in articulating how Articles calling for 'diffuse and decentralized vegetable democracies' or 'the inviolate rights of natural communities as societies based on relationships among the organisms' might look if put into practice. Mancuso falls back, instead, on well-worn examinations of (so many) human-induced problems from climate change to the havoc caused by introducing new species into established ecosystems, along with his opinions on migration, bureaucracies, and many other topics. The result is a book that’s unfortunately more about humans than plants.