The Wild Trees by Richard Preston
(Random House, $25.95)
Giantredwood trees shared the planet with the dinosaurs, yet somehowsurvived the asteroid impact. Today the 380-foot titans of NorthernCalifornia are the tallest trees on Earth, and as old as the Parthenon.Until recently their unexplored crowns were thought to be largelydevoid of life. Preston introduces a small band of climbers andscientists obsessed with seeing for themselves. Amidst a jungle gym oftrunks and branches, they discover fruiting berry bushes, hanging ferngardens, dwarf oak trees—even tiny crustaceans. Preston joins thepioneers as they sky-walk hundreds of feet above the ground. Hiscomplete immersion in his subject makes for a superlative work ofnarrative nonfiction.