Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet

Oliver Morton

‘Eating the Sun’ is the story of the discovery of a miracle: the source of life itself. This book explains how biologists discovered photosynthesis and through it found a new understanding of the history of our planet and how life is inconceivable without it.

Photosynthesis is the most mundane of miracles. It surrounds us in our gardens and parks and countryside; even our cityscapes are shot through with trees. It makes the sky blue and nature green. That greenery is the signature of the pigments with which plants harvest the sun; wherever nature offers us greenery, the molecular machinery of photosynthesis is making oxygen, energy and organic matter from the raw material of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

We rarely give the green machinery that brings about this transformation much thought, and few of us understand its beautifully honed mechanisms. But we are dimly aware that those photosynthetic mechanisms are the basis of our lives twice over: the ultimate source of all our food and the ultimate source of all our breaths. ‘Eating the Sun’ will foster and enrich that awareness. And by connecting aspects of photosynthesis that are vital to our lives to the crucial role its molecular mechanisms have played through more than two billion years of the earth’s history, ‘Eating the Sun’ will change the way the reader sees the world.

Reviews of Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet

    • ‘A surprisingly fascinating read.’ The Independent
    • ‘I enjoyed this book as much for the crazed asides as for the upsetting insights…an informative, fascinating and thought–provoking read.’ Sunday Times
    • ‘Morton is as compelling and eloquent in describing the evolution of landscape as he is at describing the evolution of life itself. He moves easily from explaining cosmological theories to describing the chalky meadows around Lewes. Photosynthesis is, as Morton eloquently describes it, ‘an everyday miracle, needing nothing but sunlight, air and leaves – and eyes taught to make sense of them.’ This book will, quite literally, change the way you see the world as it teaches you to understand the importance of that everyday miracle that we all depend on.’ The Sunday Telegraph
    • ‘Photosynthesis is, as Morton eloquently describes it, ‘an everyday miracle, needing nothing but sunlight, air and leaves – and eyes taught to make sense of them’. This book will, quite literally, change the way you see the world as it teaches you to understand the importance of that everyday miracle that we all depend on.’ Sunday Telegraph
    • ‘Everything you could possibly want from a popular science book. There is wonder here, and intellectual excitement; clear explanation and lyrical writing; and much new insight into how the world works, linking the very small and very large.’ The Independent
    • Praise for ‘Mapping Mars’:
    • ‘A wonderful work of intellectual history and a permanent addition to the Mars bookshelf.’ Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the ‘Red Mars’ trilogy and ‘The Years of Rice and Salt’