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Beatrix Potter: The extraordinary life of a Victorian genius [Paperback]

Linda Lear
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 9.79 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Mar 2008
Beatrix Potter's books are adored by millions, but they were just one aspect of an extraordinary life. This captivating biography brings us the passionate, unconventional woman behind the beloved stories: a gifted artist and shrewd businesswoman; a pioneering scientific researcher; a powerful landowner who conserved acres of Lakeland countryside; a daughter who defied her parents with her first tragically short engagement and who, finally was given a second chance of love and happiness.

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Beatrix Potter: The extraordinary life of a Victorian genius + Miss Potter [DVD] [2006]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141003103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141003108
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


one of the most interesting Englishwomen of her time (Charlotte Moore)

Curl up will Lear's excellent new biography (Daily Mail)

Potter's marvellous voice, captured in letters and journals, comes through loud and clear ... Lear gives us much to consider about this unfamiliar and remarkable woman (Lavinia Greenlaw Daily Telegraph)

Lear blasts through the myths and misconceptions to reveal a Victorian rebel ... biography at its inspiring, riveting best (Scotland on Sunday)

The fullest and most authoritative biography of Potter to date (Independent on Sunday)

About the Author

Always intrigued by how the lives of artists and writers have been influenced by the natural world, Linda Lear discovered quite by accident that Beatrix Potter had passions and interests way beyond those of her legendary series of little books for children. A professor of environmental history and the author of the prize-winning biography, Rachel Carson: Witness of Nature, Lear is an enthusiastic horticulturalist and collector of botanical art.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IT WAS A COLD, WET November day in 1918. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a superb book! 26 May 2007
This is a superb book. I borrowed it from the library and am now just about to buy it, I know I'll read it again and again. I feel like I've just stepped back in time and met some fascinating people. Not just Beatrix but many of her friends and those who have influenced her described in detail and are interesting in themselves. The appendix showing the reasearch is huge and also a good read, so much so that I intend to read about the work of others.

To know Beatrix's later life is also to know the origins of the National Trust and the conservation movement and that is also another component of this fascinating woman's life detailed in this book.

I could hardly put this book down once I'd started it. It's easy to read and an excellent introduction to a fascinating person, her friends and activities. Highly recommended.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of the great lady. 23 April 2008
Linda Lear must be a very patient and dedicated author indeed to have researched and produced a book like this.A labour of love this must surely be,you would think that that any book containing so much painstaking detail might tend to bore the reader to death. No such thing ,it is one of those you dont want to put down. If you want to know anything about the life and times of Beatrix Potter you are almost certain to find it here,it is so interesting and well written not to mention the inclusion of some beautifull paintings by the great lady plus ample photographs.You certanly get your moneys worth with this comprehensive work, I can think of nothing bad to say about it, on the contrary -quite brilliant.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely absorbing biography! 18 Jan 2008
I borrowed this book as soon as it appeared in the library and have rarely enjoyed a biography so much. Although I knew that she had been very influential in conservation in the Lake District I had no idea what an amazing woman she was. The recent film starring Renee Zellweger, which I thoroughly enjoyed, seemed with hindsight to trivialise her achievements, though I suppose it had to concentrate on her books, these being the best-known aspect of her life. This very well researched book fills in all the gaps, shows what a fine botanist she became, with only her status as an amateur and a woman preventing her from being better thought of in professional circles. She was a ground-breaker in the study of fungi and an excellent botanical artist. I hope that this book will serve to tell the world at large of the real Beatrix Potter.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Less is more 28 July 2010
By E. Hood
This is without doubt the most researched biography I have read on Beatrix Potter being a specialist interest. The research done is amazing. No stone is left unturned. Every detail you want and don't want is there descriptions of her farmers people she met there sons who took an interest in her books. Nothing is missed and I mean nothing.

Unfortunatly this book is a case of less is more. I sometimes just put the book down after reading desriptions of someones son who was good looking, had blonde hair and blue eyes. Many bits of conversation are included. One friend read the book to review it for a book group and by the time she got to the end she had forgotten about the start so switched to reading Margaret Lanes biography (also on Amazon and published a few years after Beatrix Death. Revised in 1985) which is not so long and detailed but tells you all about her.

If you want a complete scholarly work or doing research then this is your book. No detail is missed and I mean NO detail.

5 stars for the work, collection of information and vast amount of knowledge. The authors research is quite incredible. However if you want a more general read I would probably suggest Margaret Lanes book. One star was deducted as I think it has too much information. A case of less is more.

Still great if its your kind of book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book 30 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very detailed book. At the beginning, you really do have to persevere as it discusses in extraordinary detail, Beatrix's research into spores and fungi. This is quite trying at times but worth trawling through for the rest of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC!!! 6 Mar 2010
By LouLou
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A brilliant book from start to finish - there's so much more to Beatrix Potter than her children's books - I never knew quite how gifted and knowledgeable she was until I read this excellent book. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so well writtern 4 Feb 2010
I enjoy biographies and read quite a few-being a painter I usually find myself reading about artists.When you find something that is so well written it is a delight-sadly, because it was so absorbing and easily digested I doubt whether I can read it for some years as I'm sure I can remember it too well!It put me in mind of Vera Brittains 'Testament of Youth'-another gripping read.
I gave my first copy of Linda Lears book to a friend who I know will find it as good as I do,then I bought myself another copy!
Read it-you wont be dissapointed!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful biography 30 May 2007
Dr. Lear has written an amazing biography of a fascinating woman. Ms, Potter was an early feminist and conservationist, and this engrossing biography with its evocative descriptions of the Lake District made me want to visit this extroadinary country. I recommend this book unreservedly to anyone interested in nature, feminism and the English countryside.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beatrix Potter Great British Treasure
A real page turner
fantastic read. wonderfully written. a great and interesting life story.none of which i knew. well done Linda Lear.
Published 8 months ago by monica williamson
5.0 out of 5 stars xmas
made a well received xmas present
had a recent holiday in hawkshead so
made ideal holiday reading for my wife
Published 9 months ago by Mr. G. Hardy
2.0 out of 5 stars Well researched but a very dull read
THe author has clearly immersed herself in her subject but she has turned a fascinating life into a very boring biography. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Barbara K
5.0 out of 5 stars insite into an extaordinary lady
very interesting if some what sad life, worth reading. a good insite to her life as a writter and a farmer.
Published 17 months ago by kajob3
5.0 out of 5 stars an inspiration for life
I thoroughly recommend this wonderfully detailed account of the life of this multi talented woman. Linda Lear has written a fascinating and informative biography which made me want... Read more
Published 24 months ago by bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars Beatrix Potter - The Extraordinary Life of a Victorian Genius
After watching the recent film about Beatrix Potters earlier life, I wanted to know more about her. I was not disappointed with this book, which told of her 'tale' up to her... Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2009 by Mrs. M. Tuck
3.0 out of 5 stars Mrs D-P
The information is fascinating but I am rather disappointed that Lear uses the same quotations on a number of occasions - it makes it rather tiresome to read.
Published on 11 July 2008 by Mrs D-P
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