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Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life [Paperback]

George Monbiot
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Jun 2014
How many of us sometimes feel that we are scratching at the walls of this life, seeking to find our way into a wider space beyond? That our mild, polite existence sometimes seems to crush the breath out of us? Feral is the lyrical and gripping story of George Monbiot's efforts to re-engage with nature and discover a new way of living. He shows how, by restoring and rewilding our damaged ecosystems on land and at sea, we can bring wonder back into our lives. Making use of some remarkable scientific discoveries, Feral lays out a new, positive environmentalism, in which nature is allowed to find its own way.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 Jun 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 014197558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141975580
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


George Monbiot is always original - both in the intelligence of his opinions and the depth and rigour of his research. In this unusual book he presents a persuasive argument for a new future for the planet, one in which we consciously progress from just conserving nature to actively rebuilding it (Brian Eno)

A Book of Revelations for our times (Farley Mowat)

Feral has really opened my mind to the history and possibilities of our landscape. It reflects a very real need in us all right now to be released from our claustrophobic monoculture and sense of powerlessness. To break the straight lines into endless branches. To free our land from its absent administrators. To rewild both the landscape and ourselves. It is the most positive and daring environmental book I have read. In order to change our world you have to be able to see a better one. I think George has done that (Thom Yorke)

Part personal journal, part rigorous (and riveting) natural history, but above all unbridled vision for a less cowed, more self-willed planet, this is a book that will change the way you think about the natural world, and your place in it. Big, bold and beautifully written, his vision of a rewilded world is, well, truly captivating (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

It could not be more rigorously researched, more elegantly delivered, or more timely. We need such big thinking for our own sakes and those of our children. Bring on the wolves and whales, I say, and, in the words of Maurice Sendak, let the wild rumpus start (Philip Hoare Sunday Telegraph (Book of the Week))

This is prose style as auditory experience; what majesty the eye notes in the landscape is echoed in the vocabulary. ... This is nature writing prepared to go off at a tangent when it needs to, prepared to explore the byways of our passions. Yes, there is a wildness here and it's a welcome one (Independent)

About the Author

George Monbiot studied zoology at Oxford, and has spent his career as a journalist and environmentalist, working with others to defend the natural world he loves. His celebrated Guardian columns are syndicated all over the world. He is the author of the bestselling books Captive State, The Age of Consent, Bring on the Apocalypse and Heat, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. Among the many prizes he has won is the UN Global 500 award for outstanding environmental achievement, presented to him by Nelson Mandela.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild vision built on pragmatism and evidence 23 Sep 2013
This review first appeared on [...]

George Monbiot is a well-known environmentalist. He has a regular column in the Guardian newspaper, writes occasionally for a number of other publications (all his articles can be viewed on the clutter free website [...] and a number of books already under his name. As a child, I sometimes dreamed of 'saving the rainforest' and probably for this reason Monbiot became a natural role model as I grew up, even though he quickly destroyed my overly simplistic views of 'good' conservationists vs the 'bad' deforesters. His writing is broad, encapsulating the links between many different elements of what is, invariably, a more complex problem than what first impressions indicate. In the mid 2000s, George Monbiot took-on the 'greatest environmental threat' - climate change - almost head-on in his acclaimed book Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning. This provided motivation for me to seek solutions, not only on some abstract policy level, but in my everyday life.

Fast-forward five years. Instead of fretting over our collective failure to overcome society's enduring addiction to fossil fuels, it is refreshing to see that Monbiot has moved on. Environmental problems are big and, due partly to the long timespans over which they develop, can seem intractible. Instead of discussing the problem, in this case lack of wild or 'self-willed' ecosystems, from an abstract perspective, Monbiot dives into some vivid descriptions of experiences in the wilderness. Contrast this with the monotony of everyday life and it becomes apparent that many people are suffering from ecological boredom.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful argument and lucid prose 30 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While arguing his point from an unashamedly selfish position, Monbiot's assertions around the need to understand the impact of shifting baselines on our approach to the conservation of our environment are convincing. I'm not sure to what extent his apparent admiration for some of the conservationists is shared by those who work the land (his focus tends to be on contrasting the priorities and actions of rewilders with those of landowners) but at a high level his narrative feels rational. Most of all, Monbiot's profound affection for the wild is writ large across this text. A rewarding and engaging book that I'm glad to have read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Steve
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had high hopes for this book and it went beyond what I expected, far beyond. Every now and then a book comes along which can shake you awake and fundamentally change the way you see things. David Harvey did it for me with 'The Enigma of Capital' Jostein Gardener with 'Sophies World' and now George with 'Feral'. I have several degrees around these subjects and George really challenged the way I understood the countryside of the UK with this book. His descriptions of the 'tame' life that we have built out of our need for security really spoke to me. The descriptions of the 'shaved' hills of Wales being characterised as beautiful and diverse when they are, in biodiveristy terms, little better than desert, resounded with me as I am a yorkshireman, who always wondered why we couldnt have a few more trees in the dales. The book is very well referenced but doesn't read like an essay or polemic. It reads like a story, it feels like a narrative. Let me tell you, if I had read it when I took my first degree I would have been able to articulate a great deal of what struck me as the lunacy of the way we manage our land in this country. If you have never even thought about your relation with nature before you should read this book, it's accessible and in parts beautiful. If like me you have been thinking about and researching environmental policy and land management for over a decade you will still learn something, challenge yourself, and come out the other end better for it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and thought provoking 2 Oct 2013
I had never previously read any of Monbiot's books but read several of his articles so bought 'Feral' on a whim. I took it away with me along with a supply of murder mysteries, ready for the inevitable moment when I got bored and moved on. I didn't understand how utterly absorbing 'Feral' would be. It's a fantastic book and even a month later, I find myself dwelling on Monbiot's arguments. It has transformed the way I look at the environment and ecology.

Whether you agree with his arguments or not, it is a fascinating read and one that I would thoroughly recommend.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on this subject to date 31 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is not a coincidence that the finest writers on wilderness - Henry Thoreau, Sigurd Olson, John Muir and Aldo Leopold - all had a sound scientific knowledge as well as the capacity to wonder. Both are necessary to make sense of the interconnections and entanglements in nature. This is a book in that fine tradition.

All is not well with the ecosystem in our wild country. Some of our most destructive uses of the land - upland sheep farming, windfarms and blanket sitka forests - do not even make economic sense. The first two are utterly dependent on subsidies, and the latter are only there because the cost of extraction often exceeds the timber value. Deer numbers are at an all time high due to the absence of large predators and the policies of some sporting estates, and natural forest regeneration is prevented by deer browsing. Some of our wild land, in biodiversity terms, is almost sterile.

This book presents a hopeful vision of returning some of our wild areas to a self-willed state. I know many will dismiss the author as a fantasist but the ideas presented are reasoned and grounded in science. He is fully prepared to reject ideas which clearly would not work (re-introducing the most dangerous megafauna, re-wilding productive farmland, or return to a Mesolithic hunter gatherer lifestyle). He recognizes the significant barriers to feasible re-introductions.

This work is long overdue. The work of Trees for Life in re-establishing the Caledonian forest, the Knapdale beaver re-introductions, the phenomenal public interest in Springwatch, the boom in wildlife tourism all make the need for a serious discussion on where we are going, and why, essential.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great place to start thinking
This is a really rather good book – not perfect, but one that makes you stop and think ‘do I agree with what I have just read? Read more
Published 5 days ago by Stewart M
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and profound reapproach to the purpose behind conservation
This is evidently the culmination of a lot of thought and experience, the tip of the iceberg is visible in this book. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Anthony R Randell
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the most interesting exciting and provocative natural history...
one of the most interesting exciting and provocative natural history books I have read. Reading it was a spiritual experience.It visions our nature as I want to see it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by paulof pleasley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book
Published 2 months ago by J N SLEE-SMITH
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and entertaining book illustrating how far behind the UK ...
Excellent and entertaining book illustrating how far behind the UK is falling on rewilding action. Lots of thought provoking well researched information nicely presented and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Green Man
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent read
An excellent look at rewilding in the UK. I love this book, it gives me some hope.
Published 2 months ago by Kester
5.0 out of 5 stars No more claiming land for human use, start giving the world back.
A great work of progressive environmentalism. Rewild the world.
Published 3 months ago by Mirik Smit
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I have never given a book review before, but this book deserves a great one. Feral set my imagination alight, thoughts of reintroducing native (and maybe not so native) fauna to... Read more
Published 3 months ago by RICHARD WARD
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done George.
George Monbiot is a dedicated and forthright zoologist with a zest for inspiring us to understand the change our natural world needs.

Mr. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dr. Nigel D. Miles
5.0 out of 5 stars At the vanguard of restoration ecology
Far less dry and more readable than I envisioned it might be, with some chapters so stuffed full of personal anecdotes, reminiscences and reflections that it reads more like the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr J N Reynolds
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