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Summary

As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers.

In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation". As she explores these themes, she circles toward a central argument: The awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the world. Once we begin to listen for the languages of other beings, we can begin to understand the innumerable life-giving gifts the world provides us and learn to offer our thanks, our care, and our own gifts in return.

©2013 Robin Wall Kimmerer (P)2016 Tantor

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Spellbinding

I’m late to the party but...this book. I started reading it but then switched to audible due to time constraints and I just wanted to keep going with it. Once I did there was no going back. Listening to it read by the author adds an extra magic to it. I was arrested, spellbound, heartbroken, filled with wonder and love and grief. So beautiful and so important. If you love the Earth, if you want to remember how we are supposed to be living on it, read this book. Even better, listen to it.

15 people found this helpful

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Eloquently spoken, meditative story

The richness of Wall's words are spoken by her herself and so beautifully so. So many life lessons weaved amongst stories - it feels like coming home to yourself.

7 people found this helpful

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My Green Bible

I didn't think I had time to read or listen to another book, but that was before I became spellbound by Robin's beautiful voice and felt the truth of her timeless wisdom resonate deep within my heart.

I can not recommend this book highly enough.Life will never be the same and has suddenly become far more enchanting. I feel as if I've woken from a bad insatiable dream and discovered a whole new world based on abundant reciprocity.

3 people found this helpful

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Beautiful weaving of science and spirit

I loved this book. It was fascinating, compelling and inspirational. The reading by the author resonated with her insight and humanity.

3 people found this helpful

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Outstanding

Outstanding teaching. From the heart, honed by a sharp mind and voiced beautifully. Much gratitude for this inspirational work that brings me so lovingly and with compassion to the challenges and joy of living, and reciprocating with that which gives us life.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing

Fantastical written and a great listen. I fell a deep connection to the topic and loved the sense of compassion combined with scientific knowledge. I’m left want to know more and a desire to study under Robin 💚

1 person found this helpful

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Softly powerful

Loved it. A mix of ancient ways, science, history, some the authors, some cultural, and the way Land is/has been treated.

1 person found this helpful

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The stories we need before trusting in science.

More satisfying than TV show or movie ever. I gave it a four (not five) stars, because I found the traditional gender roles mentioned to be quite out of place and hypocritical. But everything else was just what I needed to listen to in a senseful and reasonable way. A timely story full of learning, poetry and resonance.

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Amazing

This was just amazing! I was lost in the imagery and so inspired by the story telling. I want to listen to it all over again ❤️

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Beautiful truths

Robin's gift is one I hope I can reciprocate by living with and for others. I will be sharing this book with other people.

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  • Jessica Mayer
  • 04-01-17

Many thanks for this gift

What did you like best about this story?

This book has changed me. Robin some how wove a beautiful story out of what she has learned from her culture, from science and her own experiences. I feel wiser, more aware, saddened and empowered to take responsibility for all the gifts that we were given. She has made me feel more connected to the earth than ever and I feel a sense of purpose and gratitude after hearing her speak.

What about Robin Wall Kimmerer’s performance did you like?

Extremely unique story-telling style. She tells the truth, it's breathtaking.

If you could give Braiding Sweetgrass a new subtitle, what would it be?

Our responsibilities as people of the earth

Any additional comments?

Thank you so much Robin. I feel enlightened and humbled after hearing you. I've stepped on a new path and can never turn back, thanks to your voice.

113 people found this helpful

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  • Donovan P Malley
  • 30-06-19

Finally, Words

When Kimmerer spoke the words "This concludes Braiding Sweetgrass" I wept. It was like someone finally spoke in a language I could understand, spoken with such a gentle power, I could not help but smile. And sometimes seethe. And sometimes cry, whether the tears were from joy or sadness or frustration or maybe compositions of those and other things.

Far from being an imitation New Age "feathers and buckskin" kind of book, Kimmerer brings the gifts of science and poetry, traditional story and new experiences braided in the motif of the books name, woven with such care and skill as to be all, sometimes simultaneously. Her themes of gratitude and gift, reciprocation and responsibility, also bring forth new insight, but stirs something ancient and right in the depths of my bones as if I new these teachings and stories before.

I am always grateful when an author reads their own book, but Kimmerer is a delight to listen to, not just because as the author, she puts the inflections and emphasis in the right places, but also because I can feel her smile when she talks of berries, or her sadness at the squish of salamanders or the humility of inundated waders.

When my aunt died of cancer, my last link to my own people was broken, distant cousins north and west of the Potawatomi and Ojibwe whose Algonquian-speaking ancestors also told about Muskrat and Turtle. My grandmother was one of the casualties of the wihtikow, assimilated such that the government decided she was no longer "Indian". I cannot call myself indigenous, nor do I feel I have the right to, regardless of DNA or blood quanta--the tools governments use to decide identities for you. But Kimmerer reminds me that I still have responsibilities. Her recounting of her own language renewed my interest in learning mine, because, after all, nēhiyawēwin means to be the people who speak the same language.

I wept when the book was finished, not sad because it was over. Unlike my aunt and grandmother, I am going to start from the beginning right after this review, in gratitude because it feels like, for the first time, Kimmerer brought together the right words at the right time to inspire more life-giving to come.

The world sorely needs books and worldviews and gifts like these. Thank you, Robin, for the courage and wisdom and joy and responsibility for the gift of your words, wisdom, work, and life.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Hanifa
  • 30-12-16

I Recommend This Book To Everyone

Would you listen to Braiding Sweetgrass again? Why?

I would definitely listen again. The words of this book are in alignment with my values and it brings me hope to know others feel as I do. It is a good reminder to practice gratitude, do more for the planet and its teachers, and to not give into despair regarding the plight of humanity and the planet.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Braiding Sweetgrass?

The author does an amazing job of setting up the concept of the Windigo and it all comes together beautifully in her story of confronting the beast.

Have you listened to any of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

First performance from this author. She does an amazing job. Her voice is a little too soothing to enjoy the book in the car without the fear of falling asleep.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A journey back to gratitude.

Any additional comments?

One of the best audiobooks I have found on this site.

73 people found this helpful

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  • crabapple m
  • 31-10-16

Read this book!

More than just plants. This book is something we as a species should be proud of our gift of language. This book, I hope it makes it into the hands of people of all different types. It is so beautiful, scientific and community inspired.

50 people found this helpful

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  • Kaysi12
  • 18-10-16

Eloquent and inspirational

This book is so timely and yet timeless: weaving threads about native people's history with the land, science that elaborates, and personal memoir; all told in a wonderful voice. I rarely listen to an audiobook a second time, but I will absolutely listen to this again, and also give copies as gifts to friends.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Brian Turnwald
  • 01-09-16

Fabulous!

The beautiful writing and soothing narration of this book helped calm me on my hour-long commute in dense Houston traffic. But more importantly it inspired me to get back into the garden that I had forsaken after heavy Spring rains had turned it to a weedy jungle. I realize now my responsibility to care for my garden and see the reciprocal nature of my relationship to her.

34 people found this helpful

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  • cedar
  • 27-11-16

Stunning and Important

This is a powerful telling journey into an old time tested way of being. I was gently taken by the hand in to a much deeper understanding of how earth and nature lives and works. It's fascinating and engaging and inspiring. I have better eyes to see and understand now. I highly recommend this pivotal book. Robin Kimmerer is truly a gift to us all and our planet.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-12-16

Hands down one of the best books I have ever read!

Memoir, science, and ecological anthropology woven into pure poetry. Moving, reflective and inspiration! Incredibly crafted.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Gail
  • 01-12-16

A new favorite!

I enjoyed the writing and Robin Kimmerer's soothing voice very much. I especially enjoyed the content. Botany, ecology, science, and motherhood are all fascinating topics. Beautiful

16 people found this helpful

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  • Marianna
  • 06-11-16

A deep dive to the sacredness of every day life

I loved this book. So much more than words can express. I felt like I was coming home. To a world where there is purpose in the rhythm of life and a deep understanding of the poignant relationship we have with our earth, our mother. A wonderful blend of personal narrative, science and myth. I highly recommend this book and hope many read it. A true medicine story.

16 people found this helpful