Who is supposed to read The Superorganism?
I can’t really tell. While I’m enjoying Holldobler & Wilson’s latest tome, I am perplexed at the book’s target audience. The text switches between broadly anthropomorphic prose clearly aimed for a general audience and obtuse jargon digestible only by the experienced biologist.
I get the feeling that the authors- at least one of them, anyway- desired a technical book more along the lines of Bourke & Franks, while the marketing department at Harvard University Press wished to trade on the authors’ name recognition with a glossy coffee-table production. The tug-of-war behind the scenes must have been impressive, and the effect is surreal. It’s a bit like hanging your automobile’s operating manual in a gilded frame over the mantle. The result is not unpleasant, mind you, but I can’t help to think the authors missed an opportunity to produce either a comprehensive professional review or an engaging popular work instead of compromising in the middle.