A great love story in the world’s tallest trees

We never expected a nonfiction book about giant redwoods and the literally tree-hugging researchers who study them to be a deeply moving page-turner, but that’s what Richard Preston has written with The Wild Trees (available 4/10).

The book follows a group of eccentric, damaged characters obsessed with discovering, climbing, and studying the tallest redwoods in the Pacific Northwest. Even though the tree hunters are scientists, variously professional and amateur, their connection to the trees — and to each other — quickly becomes emotionally intense.

Convinced that “there was something wonderful still to be found on earth,” the arborists scale the 300-foot-tall, thousand-year-old trees in search of information and a sense of existential purpose. Preston, who eventually suits up and climbs as well, has a perfect eye and ear for the heart of the story — the grandeur of the forest and the devotion of the climbers to the redwoods.

The real accomplishment here is his fine, untreacly demonstration of how love, whether for a person or a giant tree, ennobles us.

“>BUY The Wild Trees (Random House; 320 pages; hardcover)

“>WATCH a man climb the world’s tallest tree

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A great love story in the world’s tallest trees