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Field Notes From a Hidden City Hardcover – 7 Feb 2013

18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Granta (7 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847082750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847082756
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 3.2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

"A likeably quirky book ... Woolfson writes vividly about all things feathered ... Woolfson deserves only praise for bringing her hidden city - and our hidden prejudices - so enjoyably to light." --Sunday Telegraph

"In Field Notes, Woolfson turns her beady eye to the muddled and fascinating ecology of her hometown of Aberdeen ... The Aberdeen she unearths is a beguiling city ... Though her hidden city extends back through time, it's the living inhabitants that capture the larger part of Woolfson's attention and enthusiasm. There's nothing mystical about her enthusiasm for spiders, worms, shrews and foxes, but rather a kind of bustling curiosity about their strange and purposeful lives ... It can only be hoped that books like this play a part in making us both notice and value the lovely creatures we stand to lose, before the wild portions of our cities have been entirely swept and tidied and paved out of existence." --Observer

"The joy of this book is that it teaches us to observe afresh and to live peaceably with every species no matter how slimy." --Daily Telegraph

"This is a beautiful book, a meditation and an investigation, a contemplation of our uncaring attitude to wild animals. Part autobiography, it is shot through with the solitude and wisdom of older age, as Woolfson pursues her scientific studies alone."-The Times

"Woolfson is a thoughtful diarist, using events as jumping-off points for digressions into scientific information or passionate argument ... The elegance of her writing is superbly matched by Granta s stylish, exemplary production. The fine paper and beautiful illustrations make it a book that any urban dweller wanting a guide to nature within city walls will cherish."-Daily Mail

"This is an illuminating, humane and informative companion, throughout the seasons, in the great tradition of the finest nature writing even, and especially in, the grey granite grip of a northern winter."-Scotland on Sunday

"Woolfson changed our minds about rooks and crows with her memoir Corvus and now her new book is going to change our minds about other species, specifically those that have moved into the cities and made their home among the glass and the concrete" --Sunday Herald

"This is a reflective work that isn t quite as gentle as it might seem [it] underlines the fact that if we don t appreciate the value of nature under our noses, we may change it irrevocably." --Metro

About the Author

Esther Woolfson was brought up in Glasgow and studied Chinese at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Edinburgh University. Her acclaimed short stories have appeared in many anthologies and have been read on Radio 4. She is the author of Corvus: A Life with Birds, which is also published by Granta books. She has won prizes for her nature writing and received a Scottish Arts Council Travel Grant and a Writer's Bursary.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By 666albertastarr on 5 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another gem from Esther Woolfson. We really enjoyed reading Corvus and I recommended the book to family and friends. As soon As Field Notes From A Hidden City was published, we got it so that we would see Aberdeen through Esther Woolfson's eyes. Her writing and insight, her powers of observation, love and understanding of nature make this not only an enjoyable, but important book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Boria Sax on 9 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
In order to write his nature diary, Thoreau lived as a hermit in the woods. Esther Woolfson has written hers, while living with her family in the Scottish city of Aberdeen. This contrast shows how our perspective on nature has changed over the last two centuries or so. We no longer think of nature as a place but, rather, as a dimension of experience, usually present yet very easy to ignore. For this reason, Woolfson's Field Notes of a Hidden City is even more profoundly introspective than Thoreau's Walden. Woolfson looks at manifestations of the natural world in an urban setting, such as squirrels, mice, pigeons, crows, and granite in terms of personal experience, science, and history. Like Walden, Field Notes is organized according to the seasons, which, like the rest of nature, must now be rediscovered. The rhythms of the year seem to be present in the wonderfully steady cadences of her prose.

Full disclosure. I am a friend of Esther Woolfson. Does that make me biased? Maybe, but I would have written much the same thing if that were not the case.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By a very good game on 9 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book and a absolute treat to read. It is every bit as good as 'Corvus', Esther Woolfson's previous book, and has been written with the same humour, wisdom and insight. It taught me a lot and made me feel that I am not alone in liking and admiring pigeons, rats, grey squirrel, herring gulls and slugs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Blunsden on 28 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love it all, it's a perfect book for anyone interested in wildlife of all sorts. I'm happy that she still spoke about Chicken and Bardie. I hope she writes more books, they are to be treasured - I even feel differently about slugs now!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. L. Duncan on 12 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Delighted with this --it is very different. I'll be buying more for Christmas presents!!
Any one from North East Scotland will particularly enjoy this wee jem!
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By Heather Clarke on 1 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for anyone interested in wildlife, and is a real eye-opener on the survival of the many different species that live alongside humans in our cities. The book includes stories of particular individual creatures that play a part in the author's day-to-day experiences, along with her thoughts on the wider implications of our attitudes towards the animals she discusses. It makes for a very interesting and thought-provoking read.
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This is a beautifully written book which will appeal to any literate nature-lover. There were times when I re-read a paragraph immediately - not because it was hard to understand, but because it was so wonderful that I wanted to fully appreciate it.

The author has an exceptional ability to combine an eye for fine detail with an overlay of human feelings and emotion.

Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
A wonderful book. It actually makes me want to visit Aberdeen and the scenes and wildlife described in the book. The author is a woman of great perception and kindliness towards the living creatures that inhabit our streets, gardens and coasts. I loved her first book about the crows, starlings, magpies etc. who she allowed to live in her home when they were vulnerable and scared.
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