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Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  1,137 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
Here, published for the first time in the United States, is the last book by Roger Deakin, famed British nature writer and icon of the environmentalist movement. In Deakin's glorious meditation on wood, the "fifth element" -- as it exists in nature, in our culture, and in our souls -- the reader accompanies Deakin through the woods of Britain, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Austr ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Free Press (first published 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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Beth
This was a lovely piece of nature writing. It wasn’t as poetic as say, Annie Dillard, but the writing didn’t come across as overly technical either. It was a book that made me want to camp out under the boughs of a British forest – to rebuild the ruins of a 400 year old timber frame house – to watch a craftsman at his lathe, turning wood into art.

Much of this book relates the author’s own experiences in the woods. In 1969, he moved to Suffolk and bought the ruins of a Tudor-era oak-framed farmh
...more
Simon
Apr 25, 2011 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really beautiful book. Even the din on a packed rush-hour bus in downtown Chicago couldn't banish the magic that Deakin conjures up. I felt transported to a forest at dusk, and could hear the wind in the trees. I think the word "enchanting" is overused in book reviews, but in this case I think it's the perfect adjective, this book is literally enchanting.
João Carlos

Roger Deakin fotografado junto a uma nogueira na sua propriedade "Walnut Tree Farm"


“Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees” do escritor, documentarista e ambientalista Roger Deakin (1943 – 2006) é o “meu” livro.
Um tumor cerebral matou Roger Deakin seis meses após ter concluído o manuscrito de “Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees”.
Um livro, uma viagem literária e poética através das árvores, da floresta, da madeira, o “quinto elemento”, uma obra-prima da natureza.
Roger Deakin era um homem que amava a f
...more
Meaghan
Jul 22, 2008 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fellow tree-huggers
Recommended to Meaghan by: caught my eye at the book store, read the reviews on the back
I am often apprehensive about reading nature writing because I am afraid that it won't hold my attention. I think in many cases something is lost in translation from the organic to the intellectual. Our inside and outside selves are kept separate entities these days. I have struggled recently with finding a way to bridge these two parts of my self (the nature-loving, spontaneous part with the studious, hard-working, methodical part). Deakin offered hope that it was possible to do this. Throughou ...more
Mark
Jul 15, 2010 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once again, this book was a total inspiration. I now so want to go and find a little cabin somewhere in the midst of a wood so as to experience something of this man's wonder. Fantastic
Alison
Oct 02, 2011 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in trees.
Recommended to Alison by: Margaret Smart
I love this book so much! I haven't finished reading it yet, because I want to savour it gently and slowly. I'm a country woman, born on the egde of a wood, brought up on the edge of another - and I felt as if Roger Deakin was telling me things I'd always known but never articulated properly. I have enjoyed exploring some of his themes - the woodcraft of David Nash, the painting of Mary Newcombe - I feel educated by the onw book. This is a book which has made me grow! I borrowed it from the libr ...more
Lori
Apr 09, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book, very detailed. The author takes you a very detailed journey with him through the woods, desert or wherever he is. It was like an escape, I read it in winter and I felt like like I was right there with him looking at nature. Would highly recommend for any nature lover of trees and fauna. I hope to read another book he has also written.
Bruce Hatton
Dec 31, 2016 Bruce Hatton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
Roger Deakin's second nature book explores the enduring fascination for what he calls the "fifth element". The mythical and mystical nature of woodland and the use of wood in architecture, furniture and artworks. As well as British woods, he explores those of France, Greece, Ukraine, Poland, Kazakhstan, and Australia. His descriptions of the different national attitudes to woodland put me in mind of Simon Scharma's "Landscape And Memory", particularly concerning the historical and legendary impo ...more
Christopher
Jun 22, 2009 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on the recommendation of Geoff Manaugh, the founder of BLDGBLOG.com (which is fantastic, by the way,a blog devoted to ‘architectural conjecture, urban speculation and landscape futures’) I am very glad that I found it. Not only is it fantastically well written, but it is such a simple and honest book about the pleasures of the woodlands, and of the experience of being in and around trees. For a seemingly limited topic, he covers a remarkable amount of ground, literally in some c ...more
Ashy
Dec 31, 2010 Ashy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, there is something in it for everyone really, as the chapters are very diverse in subject matter, while still being liked by the overall theme of wood/trees. It reminded me of knowledge I already have and taught me interesting new things, and was a nice relaxed book to read gradually. There was the odd part that I skimmed over, but largely there was something about each chapter that caught my interest and kept me reading. The main reason for skimming was that I have a p ...more
Sonya
Oct 04, 2014 Sonya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was probably my favourite read this year. It was akin, to me, of curling up in your dad's lap as a child, while he drones on about things that he adores that to you are simultaneously fascinating and mind-numbingly boring. And, like a dad, he is given to repeating parts of stories you've already heard. I really took my time reading this, because I haven't wanted it to end, and I think the book demands it. Deakin describes woodland scenes--which I think I for one take for granted--with a pai ...more
Shriram Sivaramakrishnan
How shall I begin reviewing..err..add my reviews to the universe of this book.

Once in a while (generally our lifetime), we come across a book that would literally change the world that we inhabit. It makes us question the very assumptions upon which we've based our life.

Wildwood, to me, is one such!

Never have I come across such a book on nature writing. In essence, it is about Wood, rather the imagination called Wood, in our lives. Here is a person who had lived where wood lived, not where the d
...more
julie
Oct 24, 2012 julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i would have given this 5 stars, but it had some slow moments. however, overall, i loved it and uncharacteristically for me, i read it slowly, to savor it. it made me feel quiet and peaceful and it made me want to go sleep out in the yard (which i probably would have done if it wasn't november and pissing down rain all the time where i live). I learned new (for me) words like coppiced and winter-bournes. and i learned about the Green Man, that pagan throw-back found in churches and cemeteries, t ...more
Chuck Erion
Apr 06, 2013 Chuck Erion rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
The emerald ash borer is having a devastating impact on the ash trees across southwestern Ontario.

As a wood lover, I’m familiar with the ash’s white clear grain, but would be hard-pressed to identify the tree in the wild or along a city street. This is ironic given the numbers: there are apparently 6,500 ash trees in Kitchener and more than 12,000 in Waterloo.

Which brings me to Wildwood — A Journey Through Trees (Penguin, 390 pages, $20) by the late Roger Deakin, a British nature writer and film
...more
Heather
Oct 02, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
I came to this book after reading The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane, who went exploring with Roger Deakin and also told of his last illness from which he died, as well as dedicating The Wild Places to him. After enjoying The Wild Places greatly, hearing so much about Roger from that book, it was a natural reading rabbit trail from that book to this.

While I must say it sounds like Roger was a remarkable individual, I did not enjoy this as much as the Robert MacFarlane book. I felt at times li
...more
Tamsin Barlow
A book written by one of England's great eccentrics -- he swam across England through streams, canals and lakes just to get closer to nature and observe the character of water. So who wouldn't want to read about his experiences and observations about trees? I love trees and feel a great interest in them so reading this rambling book has been very satisfying -- I'm not the only tree-hugger out there. Beautifully written, deeply insightful and dotted with captivating anecdotes -- and it starts wit ...more
Jennifer
Jan 04, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A deep love for the natural world pervades this book as does the wonder of a child. When you think about it, trees are pretty amazing things. The problem is, we often don't think about it. Thanks to Deakin, I will never look at an apple tree, a wood desk, the beams in my house in exactly the same way again. It is a reminder to slow down and look around. Each of the chapters in this book brings you to a different place where the rhythms of life are unhurried. The descriptions bring the various wo ...more
Sue Swisher
Jan 24, 2013 Sue Swisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written, a leisurely read that perfectly captures the rural landscapes, woodlands, customs, and people of the various forests that Deakin visits and appreciates. I feel I have personally seen and experienced the same woods that the author did. His first love is the Suffolk countryside near his home, but he has equally vivid descriptions of Australia, Greece, Kazakhstan, and the other places where people still live close to the land. Certain scenes will stick with you for a long time, ...more
Camilla
I enjoyed Waterlog so much I was really looking forward to reading this. I grew up in the countryside and thought the hedge at the bottom of the garden was a giant forest. I did enjoy this very much, but it suffered in my eyes by not having the same parameters as Waterlog did- instead of being restricted to one location (the UK) this book takes a journey all round the world. Individual accounts were fascinating- i've already bored friends with tales about walnut harvesting, but I feel that this ...more
Vicki Winslow
Aug 23, 2011 Vicki Winslow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed Wildwood, which takes the reader on a wonderful journey around the world--to artists who use trees as their medium, to the walnut forests of Jalal Abad, back home to the elms and ash trees growing in his own hedgerow. One thing I particularly loved about the book was that it took me on numerous side trips as Deakin mentions or quotes from fiction and nonfiction works. Because of Wildwood I am now reading Hardy's The Woodlanders.
Nic
Aug 11, 2011 Nic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Loved this. Seemed a little under-edited (lots of repetitions, etc.); however, possibly a product of circumstances of production. Brought home how much knowledge and experience is going to be lost in the coming generations, but also reasons for hope, in terms of progressive attitudes towards sustainable management in (e.g.) Central Asian nations. A great encouragement for living authentically and determining your own unique contribution to the world."
Clare
Oct 21, 2010 Clare rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really do love this book, so calm and peaceful. You can hear Roger Deakin's calm tone coming through the pages. Perhaps that's why I didn't finish it. I got over halfway but you know, there's a lot of tree in there, in every form you can think of to stuff all at once. My excuse is I'm savouring it, I'll read it as I feel poped and grey and in need of Roger Deakin's beautiful wooded land.
Peter
Mar 18, 2011 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011

A wonderful book of stories on the life, trees, ecology and utilisation of natural resources. A treasure that takes you form the origin of apples to carving oak trees to making baskets. Worth savouring.
Peter

Like a long slow walk in the woods, this book doesn't really go anywhere but takes in a good many things along the way.
Mark Ames
Jun 08, 2009 Mark Ames rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Really enjoying this one, so far. I got this as a follow-on to MacFarlane's "Wild Places". "Wild Places" is about the UK and "Wild Places" goes farther afield.
Lauren Holton
Sep 01, 2013 Lauren Holton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dense at times, but beautiful, meaningful writing for the nature-loving soul.
Lab Cat
Dec 31, 2016 Lab Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natural-history
I enjoyed this book which I read over four visits to my dad's house in England. Reading it was a bit of a slog at times as parts seemed lengthy and dry. However, the slog was worthwhile and the section about his travels to Australia and central Asia were particularly enjoyable.

I would love to visit the ur-apple and ur-walnut forests as they sound fascinating. In this section of the book, I enjoyed his description of the food and the cooking. walnuts in syrup sound delicious.
Laura
Nov 24, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating. Written with respect, insight and love.
Mike Murray
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate
"Here, published for the first time in the United States, is the last book by Roger Deakin, famed British nature writer and icon of the environmentalist movement. In Deakin's glorious meditation on wood, the 'fifth element' -- as it exists in nature, in our culture, and in our souls -- the reader accompanies Deakin through the woods of Britain, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Australia in search of what lies behind man's profound and enduring connection with trees.

"Deakin lives in forest shacks, goes 'c
...more
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  • The Trees in My Forest
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  • Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
  • The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History
  • Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life
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Roger Stuart Deakin was an English writer, documentary-maker and environmentalist.

Educated at Haberdashers' Aske's and Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he read English, he first worked in advertising as a copywriter and creative director.

In 1968 he bought an Elizabethan moated farmhouse on the edge of Mellis Common, near Diss where he lived until his death from a brain tumour, first diagnosed only fou
...more
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“To enter a wood is to pass into a different world in which we ourselves are transformed.” 10 likes
“There's more truth about a camp than a house. Planning laws need not worry the improvising builder because temporary structures are more beautiful anyway, and you don't need permission for them. There's more truth about a camp because that is the position we are in. The house represents what we ourselves would like to be on earth: permanent, rooted, here for eternity. But a camp represents the true reality of things: we're just passing through.” 8 likes
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