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British Isles: A Natural History [Hardcover]

Alan Titchmarsh
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 19.99
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Book Description

1 Oct 2004

Accompanying a major new BBC1 series presented by Alan Titchmarsh, British Isles: A Natural History is a fascinating journey through the natural history of Britain from its birth to the present day.

Written in Alans uniquely readable style, the book chronicles the different periods in Britain's evolution, exploring everything from the geology and geography to the flora and fauna that make up the diverse landscapes of the British Isles. It also includes a gazetteer section detailing where you can explore for yourself Britain's natural treasures.

Beautifully illustrated with 180 colour photographs, it will appeal to natural history enthusiasts and everyone who cares about the country they live in.

The book contains the latest research gathered in the making of this new landmark series from the BBC's NHU in Bristol.

Alan Titchmarsh is a bestselling BBC author and has sold over a million copies of his books which include How To Be A Gardener 1 and 2 and Royal Gardeners.

Frequently Bought Together

British Isles: A Natural History + British Isles: A Natural History [DVD] [2004] + Nature Of Britain : Complete BBC Series (3 Disc Set) [DVD]
Price For All Three: 37.18

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; Reprint edition (1 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563521627
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563521624
  • Product Dimensions: 28.4 x 21.6 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Originally trained at Hertfordshire College of Horticulture and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Alan Titchmarsh is the author of over 40 books about gardening, including How to be a Gardener Book 1: Back to Basics, the fastest-selling of all time in the genre, and the bestselling The Kitchen Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Fruit and Veg. He writes for BBC Gardeners' World Magazine, and is gardening correspondent for the Daily Express and Sunday Express. He has presented Gardeners' World, the annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show and Nature of Britain, and has his own daily chatshow and presents his own show on Radio 2.

Product Description


A beautifully illustrated historical survey of Britain's natural treasures.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Isles 23 Nov 2004
By Vicky
I have to disagree with the other review. I thoroughly enjoyed the programme and the book is an added bonus, taking the story on further and written in a clear, informative and engaging way. I found the subject fascinating and wanted to read more about it but I don't want to read an academic tome on geology. This book is a perfect compromise of education and enjoyment. The illustrations are also wonderful and add extra interest - it's a book that may make its way under the Christmas tree in a few of my friends' houses!
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great illustrations, a bit short on detail 9 Nov 2004
A difficult book to review, and for all the wrong reasons. Firstly, the subject matter is fascinating and there is much to commend the book in terms of the quality of its (profuse) illustration. The television series was excellent, its photography and animation simply stunning at times. However, the book does not live up to the quality and scale of the TV production. It offers a safe, general discussion of the emergence of the British Isles as a geographical fact, then goes on to offer a compressed potted history of the first settlers, emergence of a rural society, and the process of urbanisation and social change which has helped shape the landscape.
It's all very interesting, and the book does provide quite an engaging narrative. But the words seem sparse, lost amidst the illustrations. As an introduction to the history, prehistory, and geology of the British Isles, it is, in places, too short and too simplistic. The book lacks the graphic quality of the television presentation.
Now, quite clearly Alan Titchmarsh has put his name to this volume. He seems a nice, genuine bloke, and there's no doubt he knows about gardening. If I were to buy a book on gardening, I'd probably look at something by him. But if I read a book about the geology of the British Isles, I want it written by a geologist. If I read a book about the history of the British Isles, I want it written by an historian. Simply taking a 'celebrity' and sticking his name below the title seems cheap and exploitative of the general public.
Anyone truly interested in this subject would be much better advised looking at Hoskins' "The Making of the English Landscape" (a recognised classic), or any of the excellent titles by Richard Muir - say his "Landscape Detective: Discovering a Countryside".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grass-Chewing Contemplation 13 Oct 2010
By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Alan Titchmarsh is not a professional geologist, historian, geographer, or climatologist. He's not even a professional naturalist. His area of expertise is in gardening and broadcasting - two words that can be synonymous in the right context - but it is as a communicator in which Titchmarsh excels in this book. Yes, like the excellent TV series to which it relates, the words have been written by the man himself, but the reading on which he has based his knowledge has been wide (if not terribly deep), as evinced by the bibliography at the book's end. In the introduction Titchmarsh modestly justifies his credentials by telling us that "my love of nature has always gone hand in hand with my passion for growing plants. I still have a bird book by my desk, and the fact that I refuse to use garden chemicals is due entirely to the fact that other forms of life have every bit as much right to use my garden as I do."

So Titchmarsh's book is in many ways an introduction to the subject of the natural history of the British Isles; a kind of arm around your shoulder asking you to look at the view, whilst with his other arm he points out at the landscape below to describe features of interest. There are helpful messages for those new to the study, for example telling the reader how to pronounce the word `gneiss', and also helpful messages to those of us who have studied the landscape since we were born, like what is the best grass to chew on whilst contemplating its beauty and meaning. In addition, there are many separate boxes throughout the book to explain concepts and features in more detail from rock types and plate tectonics to the freezing of the River Thames during the Little Ice Age.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great review of UK for people Overseas 24 Sep 2006
By Antony
Being from Australia, I've only been to London a few times. This series really opened up my eyes to the history of the island and also some of the natural places which I really was not aware of.

The presenter did a great job, and some very interesting themes were put forward.

I really enjoyed the soundtrack as well, and wish it would be released.

A very enjoyable series and I would highly recommend it to anyone!
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