Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees

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9781856197335: Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees

This engaging book is about beech trees, but it is also about numerous other issues, including global warming and the importance of trees in the landscape. Trees are the largest and most significant organisms on our planet. Beech trees reached Britain about 8,000 years ago, and they were workhorses, not ornaments: fuel for Rome's glassworks; firewood for London; oars for the ships of Venice; raw material for furniture, cut and turned by "bodgers" who lived like nomads among the trees in huts made of beechwood shavings. Author Richard Mabey discusses beech trees through autobiography, history, and natural history in Europe as well as Britain. His beeches are full of character—"hectic, gale-sculpted, gnomic"—and he writes about the bluebells, orchids, fungi, deer, and badgers associated with them, as well as the narratives that have been told about trees and the images we make of them. Many other kinds of tree are featured, and the portraits and celebrations of the beech always point to a larger story. This is a personal investigation of the ambivalent, enigmatic relationship that humans have with trees.

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About the Author:

Richard Mabey is the author of Food for Free, Flora Britannica, Gilbert White, and Nature Cure, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Biography, J.R. Ackerley, and the Ondaatje awards.

Review:

"Wonderfully subversive, far-reaching and unsentimental" Observer "Richard Mabey is a man for all seasons, most regions and every kind of landscape" -- Andrew Motion Financial Times "Beechcombings is a treasure trove of fact and anecdote linked to the beech tree... By the time you have reached the end of the book you will have accumulated an encyclopaedic knowledge of the uses and merits of different timbers and you will have an extensive list of locations to visit. A welcome present" -- Michael Heseltine Spectator "The latest book from the doyen of our nature writers employs a key critical concept of recent decades to explore how we really see the natural word - with fascinating results... a terrific combination of both natural and intellectual history, informed by penetrating insight" Independent "Like the woodlands itself, Beechcombings operates on many levels... Busting out is a leaf-storm of philosophical musings, journeys of mind and body, reflections and anecdotes that imprint the tree on human culture" Sunday Times

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Mabey, Richard
Published by Random House UK (2007)
ISBN 10: 1856197336 ISBN 13: 9781856197335
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