Tuning In the Night-Singing Insects
Belknap/Harvard University Press: 260 pp., $22.95
"The game is to listen," Rachel Carson wrote in 1956 of the night-singing insects. "Not so much to the full orchestra, as to the separate instruments, and to try to locate the players." In this ear-opening book, John Himmelman shows us not only how to identify the songs these insects have sung for 250 million years but what those songs mean and how they are made.
He writes about the effect of these songs on human dreams; about the Ensifera (the night-singers: crickets, katydids and the like) and how the sounds they...