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Meetings with Remarkable Trees

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Thomas Pakenham's bestselling book of tree portraits. With this astonishing collection of tree portraits, Thomas Pakenham produced a new kind of tree book. The arrangement owed little to conventional botany. The sixty trees were grouped according to their own strong personalities: Natives, Travellers, Shrines, Fantasies and Survivors. From the ancient native trees, many of ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published November 10th 1998 by Random House (first published September 23rd 1997)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  338 ratings  ·  36 reviews


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Forrest
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I consider myself a semi-outdoorsman. I’m not as hardcore as many of my friends. I’ve had friends who have kayaked the Aleutian Islands looking for (and finding) mummies. I’ve had others who have hiked the Appalachian Trail in its entirety. Still others friends have spent a Winter (well, their Summer) in Antarctica.

Me? I’ve been on a few week-long canoeing trips. I love to hike the hills and walk up mountains. I’ve done more than my share of camping, whether in the true wilds or in State Parks.
...more
Jim
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
He certainly picked some remarkable trees, although he was a bit too enamored of barely surviving or dead stumps. I don't consider those remarkable trees. Still, I probably hadn't heard of over 1/3 of the examples he wrote about - a good percentage. I don't think there was a case where he didn't add some information I hadn't known, though. That's awesome. He found new trivia on even the really well known ones.

This wasn't a book for me to just sit down & read, it was more like a scavenger
...more
Kathryn
Jan 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
I didn't read much of this book, but looked at all of the extraordinary pictures. The tress are all outside of the US, but there are some wonderful specimans. Many I would love to sit in or on. This would make a wonderful coffee table book.
Sylvester
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
"There is a tree, the pride of Lorton's vale,
Which to this day stands single in the midst
Of its own darkness as it stood of yore...
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary tree! - a living thing
Produced too slowly to ever decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed."

Wordsworth "Yew Trees"

That very tree still stands at Lorton, incredibly. In a farmers' field, chewed by sheep, but still magnificent.

Loved this book. So many stories these trees hold. The things they have
...more
Marmot
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
The thing I found fascinating about this book, is that nearly all the trees discussed (growing in England, Ireland and Scotland) were PLANTED!!!! This is in contrast to my own experience living in BC, Canada, where almost all of the remarkable trees are naturals. So that was a bit of an eye opener for me (having never been to Europe; now I want to go to see some of these trees). Also a bit sad that they don't have many old large natural trees left at all. I enjoyed reading this book, which was ...more
Rebecca
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Pakenham takes stunning pictures of many different ancient trees all over England, Scotland, and Ireland, accompanied by essays both on the specific tree and the type of tree. If it's a tree not native to England, the essay will describe how it got there (or the best theory, as some came hundreds of years ago). The trees are wonderful and old, with twisty complex roots and branches, and some with rooms inside them. I did think that it was cheating a little to use just trees found in the UK to ...more
Hollie Rose
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(Review written in 2002)
Fascinating! I love this book. It's not just about big or old trees, it's about interesting trees. Trees with stories, or histories. Trees noted in past botanical books or by ancient poets, looked for today - some found alive, some are found 'dead on their feet' as he puts it. He groups the trees by personalities - such as the natives, travelers, mothers, survivors, shrines. Filled with tree lore, fact and legend both. Gorgeous photography interspersed throughout the
...more
Alison
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What it is I love and find fascinating about trees, I’ll probably never know or workout, maybe a phase from another life. All the same, I love the shapes and quirkiness of trees and I know many others do too. Pakenham’s photos are lovely and probably don’t do enough justice to the fabulousness of trees around the world, but his book is a start. Great as a ‘coffee table’ book or just to have a quick read and a marvel at some pics.
Benjamin Richards
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed spending time with Thomas Pakenham and his dendrological journey. I have bookmarked most of these trees on the map and intend to visit them in the years to come, hopefully discovering new old trees along the way.
DragonflyDreams
Beautifully written and photographed. The author describes the history and features of remarkable examples of trees that he has found and photographed in the British Isles.
A great book for anyone interested in trees and nature.
Eva Falconer
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book . Well illustrated with often odd and strange trees in the British Isles.. a book to dip into and share with others. I feel like visiting some of those I have not already seen..
Faye
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a gorgeous book, truly well-named "remarkable". My husband gave it to me for our anniversary and I cherish this hardcover treasure to this day!
Elise
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Tedious. Anyone who thinks the terms 'half caste' and 'bastard' add humour to a book on trees should just stick to planting walnuts. Two stars for photographs.
Jojo
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautifully presented book looking at UK trees from a non-ecological/biological perspective but still full of useful information
Susan
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I went out and bought the book, I loved it so much ( I was reading a library copy). Marvelous photos of stunning trees.
Benjamin
Nov 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: redwoods
In a refreshing yet novel method of writing, Thomas Pakenham's Meetings with Remarkable Trees tells the stories of some of the British Isles' most awe-inspiring trees, and does so by delightfully grouping the trees into categories that evoke their personalities and aesthetic qualities, such as 'Natives', 'Travellers', 'Shrines', 'fantasies' and 'survivors'.

Each tree has a short, yet well-researched, history etched out for readers to explore, often with a poetic epithet from great authors,
...more
GoldGato
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are trees in the book that seem to reach to the sky. Trees that are so large, they act as living rooms to humans. Trees that could only have been brought to us by the mythological giants of old, for who else would have been able to tend to these fascinating ancients.

This book focuses upon trees both native to Britain and those brought from abroad and planted for the citizens to revere. My favorite is the Xerxes tree, a Plane Tree at Cambridge. The story goes that Persia's greatest king saw
...more
Juliet Wilson
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature
This is a beautiful book, made up of portraits in prose and photos of 6o individual trees (or groups of trees) from around the UK, selected by the author for their strong personalities. Most of these trees are very old and very large, all of them have interesting histories.

The trees include:

Kett's Oak at Wymondham, Norfolk under which rebel peasants, under the leadership of Robert Kett, gathered in 1549 to demand an end to the enclosure of common land.

The gingko at Kew Gardens. This individual
...more
Caroline
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and as a result of reading have added one or two, to my 'places to visit' bucket list. I have always loved trees and confess to having hugged the odd one. Thomas Pakenham has pitched the text perfectly with the photos. A little history, a few stories, some true some not, but all interesting. This book will not be filed away in a bookshelf never to be looked at again, but will remain close at hand to glance through and all the beautiful, well mostly beautiful, trees in a ...more
Renay
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
stunning photography, and actual genuine histories or stories of mad trees in some country that's not australia hmmph!
ah well, i am glad someone thought to make a book so i can see such remarkable trees and read the stories attatched, i may never get to travel there - this is the next best thing.
some of these trees are humungous, amazing, stunning and awe inspiring. a lovely whimsical informative read, and pictures that'd make your green thumb twitch....

lovely! well worth a flick through just
...more
Cora
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I love this book. The man clearly loves trees (well, duh) and looks on them as individual beings, with strong personalities of their own. The photographs are great, and the short verbal portraits of each tree were very interesting.
Tracey King
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This remarkable book shares a unique history and religion about trees. The wisdom in trees is an amazing thing and lots of people have explored it over the years, but I really enjoyed the way this book was laid out and showed you beautiful photographs, engravings and maps.
Ilze
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Although the photography is (again) excellent, I really got the feeling that the first book was better than this one as Pakenham didn't really have much to say about the trees as such; almost as if he just went in for it for the money.
Jeremy
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Stories and histories of 60 trees in the UK. Good pictures and some interesting stories. I just saw this book and decided to check it out, and didn’t spend much time with it. It would be much more interesting to a Brit, but still decent because of the pictures and facts.
Willow
Jul 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book was interesting. The pictures were gorgeous, the writing was witty and informative, and it really held my attention. Everyone should have this much respect for the plants which allow us to breathe, write, and build houses.
Karen
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to find this gem of a book at my library's used book sale. What a lovely book. The photography of these beautiful old trees is stupendous. Have you hugged a tree book today? I have.
Christine
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: tree huggers
Shelves: booksiveread
Best tree picture book ever. Hours of joy looking through the pages. Dreams of trees to visit some day.
Candace
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is remarkable. If trees could talk! The author did an amazing job of telling the stories of these remarkable old trees.
Sharen
May 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a treasure house. You will never look at trees the same way again. The photography is marvelous, and Thomas Pakenham's comments on each tree are illuminating and often witty. A joy!
Laura
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful photography combined with fascinating text makes this book stand out. It's the ideal read for anyone who loves history, the British Isles and, of course, trees.
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Thomas Francis Dermot Pakenham, 8th Earl of Longford, is known simply as Thomas Pakenham. He is an Anglo-Irish historian and arborist who has written several prize-winning books on the diverse subjects of Victorian and post-Victorian British history and trees. He is the son of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, a Labour minister and human rights campaigner, and Elizabeth Longford. The well ...more