The Mushroom at the End of the World : On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins - Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

The Mushroom at the End of the World

On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

By: Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Paperback | 15 August 2021

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*One of Times Higher Education's Best Books of 2015*

*Winner of the 2016 Gregory Bateson Prize, The Society for Cultural Anthropology*

*One of Flavorwire's 10 Best Books by Academic Publishers in 2015*

*Winner of the 2016 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, Society for Humanistic Anthropology*

*One of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2015 in Business and Economics*

*One of Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Books of 2015 in Science*

*Finalist for the 2016 Northern California Book Awards in General Nonfiction, Northern California Book Reviewers*


Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world-and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the Northern Hemisphere. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's account of these sought-after fungi offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: What manages to live in the ruins we have made? The Mushroom at the End of the World explores the unexpected corners of matsutake commerce, where we encounter Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, Finnish nature guides, and more.

These companions lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human devastation. The Mushroom at the End of the World delves into the relationship between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.

About the Author

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Industry Reviews
"A poetic and remarkably fertile exploration of the relationship between human beings and the natural environment.'
Pankaj Mishra The Guardian

'Through close, indeed loving, attention to a certain fascinating mushroom, the matsutake, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing discusses how the whole immense crisis of ecology came about and why it continues. In a situation where urgency and enormity can overwhelm the mind, she gives us a real way to think about it.'
Ursula K. Le Guin

'Humanity has never seemed so finely calibrated and rationalized: the seamless journey of a very expensive mushroom from nature to a dinner plate tells this story.'
Hua Hsu New Yorker

'Highly original. . . . This book brilliantly turns the commerce and ecology of this most rare mushroom into a modern parable of post-industrial survival and environmental renewal.'
P. D. Smith The Guardian

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