The Wild Trees by Richard Preston
(Random House, $25.95)
Giant redwood trees shared the planet with the dinosaurs, yet somehow survived the asteroid impact. Today the 380-foot titans of Northern California are the tallest trees on Earth, and as old as the Parthenon.Until recently their unexplored crowns were thought to be largely devoid of life. Preston introduces a small band of climbers and scientists obsessed with seeing for themselves. Amidst a jungle gym of trunks and branches, they discover fruiting berry bushes, hanging fern gardens, dwarf oak trees—even tiny crustaceans. Preston joins the pioneers as they sky-walk hundreds of feet above the ground. His complete immersion in his subject makes for a superlative work of narrative nonfiction.