Glorious. This book explores the images from natural history records and looks at them as a form of art. I have always considered the incredible drawi...moreGlorious. This book explores the images from natural history records and looks at them as a form of art. I have always considered the incredible drawings of plants and animals from this era as art, and I was excited to see them examined this way by some of the masters in the field. The writing is straightforward but thorough. Though the sections are written by different people, there is an overall sense of being pulled into the world of discovery and allowed to spend some time marvelling there. I read read most of this book within a few hours of owning it, while sitting in a cafe enjoying a very large 'Edith Piaf'. I went home and finished it straight away. The illustrations are amazing and the text is unrivalled.
It begins as a wonderful exploration of trees and wood in England. Deakin talks about the native biodiversity and how that has changed. He talks about...moreIt begins as a wonderful exploration of trees and wood in England. Deakin talks about the native biodiversity and how that has changed. He talks about specific kinds of wood and their importance and history. He talks about the beauty of nature; of mythology; and dependence. It was beautiful and informative. But the book is somewhat disjointed. About halfway through, it starts to ramble and feels like a regular journal. Then it suddenly loses focus completely and becomes a piece of regular travel writing. Deakin comes to Australia and spends great lengths of time talking about art, wine and meeting up with old friends. Every so often he peppers the text with an anecdote about a tree. Then he miraculously doubles back when he travels to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan; sharing the remarkable relationship these people have with the land and the apple trees and walnut trees. While it was well-written, I didn't feel that it was well-balanced. I'm a lover of books on natural history, and was expecting more of the same, so I was left disappointed after this lighthearted 'journey' through a topic that really has more substance.(less)