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Robbing the Bees

A Biography of Honey--The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World

Honey has been waiting almost ten million years for a good biography. Bees have been making this prized food -- for centuries the world's only sweetener -- for millennia, but we humans started recording our fascination with it only in the past few thousand years. Part history, part love letter, Robbing the Bees is a celebration of bees and their magical produce, revealing the varied roles of bees and honey in nature, world civilization, business, and gastronomy.

To help navigate the worlds and cultures of honey, Bishop -- beekeeper, writer, and honey aficionado -- apprentices herself to Donald Smiley, a professional beekeeper who harvests tupelo honey in the Florida panhandle. She intersperses the lively lore and science of honey with lyrical reflections on her own and Smiley's beekeeping experiences. Its passionate research, rich detail, and fascinating anecdote and illustrations make Holley Bishop's Robbing the Bees a sumptuous look at the oldest, most delectable food in the world.

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Holley Bishop, a beekeeper for six years, has spent thousands of hours observing bees, harvesting honey, and amassing a collection of related books, gadgets, and stories. A graduate of Brown University, she completed a degree at the Columbia University School of Journalism and has worked in book publishing and written for numerous magazines.

"With this elegant new book, Holley Bishop joins Sue Hubbell and Edwin Way Teale as one of the most engaging ambassadors to bees we've ever had. Written with grace and wit...as seductive as an open jar of tupelo honey."
-- Robert Michael Pyle, author of Chasing Monarchs

"Bishop's book reads like a novel -- the narrative unfolding like an escapist yarn or film, with Bishop and her bees as the players and the humid fields of Florida as her stage."
-- The Salt Lake Tribune

"Holley Bishop's love affair with honeybees combines natural and social history with gastronomy and memoir to produce a delicious reading experience."
-- Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire