- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday (22 May 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0857521454
- ISBN-13: 978-0857521453
- Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.9 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Meadowland: the private life of an English field Hardcover – 22 May 2014
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More About the Author
Six Weeks, his book about British frontline officers in the First World War, published in November 2010 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson was described by The Literary Review as 'the most moving book I have ever read on the First World War' and Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey) said it was 'the best research resource ever.' The book became a number 1 bestseller in WW1 category on Amazon.His 'The War Behind the Wire', about the life, death and glory of British PoWs in WW1 was published in January 2014, and his Sunday Times Top 30 hardback non-fiction bestseller Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field was released in May 2014. The book was featured on Radio 4's Start the Week, and won the 2015 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing; it was also shortlisted for BBC Countryfile Book of the Year 2014. He is currently writing 'Where Poppies Blow: The British Soldier, Nature, and the Great War', which is due for publication in November 2015
"My book of the year. Meadowland is a seasonal journey of discovery, a pilgrimage that nurtures the soul and gives meaning to life; all life. Each beautifully crafted sentence provides a stepping-stone to absorb and understand the land, with the writer’s lyrical voice acting as guide and trusty staff as well as illuminating the mind’s eye with wonderful imagery and perceptive literary devices." (Stuart Winter Sunday Express)
"Fascinating ... Books have been written about entire countries that contain a less interesting cast of characters than Lewis-Stempel's account of one field on the edge of Wales. Foxes, red kites and voles become as intricately shaded as characters in an HBO drama, the readers' sympathies swinging between them and their adversaries. Not every English meadow contains such a vast variety of wildlife as Lewis-Stempel's, and he's lucky to live somewhere so unspoilt, but his immense, patient powers of observation – along with a flair for the anthropomorphic – mean he is able to offer a portrait of animal life that's rare in its colour and drama.
Lewis-Stempel's eye for detail and the poetic imagery of sentences such as "Behind me the river shouts with the abandon of a football crowd" or "Someone has stirred the clouds into milk pudding" are reminiscent of the late, brilliant Roger Deakin...
There is barely a creature in Meadowland that I didn't learn at least one interesting new fact about (the occasional tendency of badgers to hold funerals for one another is a particular favourite)." (Tom Cox Observer)
"Engaging, closely-observed and beautiful ... this author’s deep love of the world around him is as inspiring as it is entertaining. This wonderful book ... is most of all, a moving hymn of gratitude from a man so rooted, so full of joy that he likens his land to a cathedral and knows that: ‘To stand alone in a field in England and listen to the morning chorus of the birds is to remember why life is precious'." (Bel Mooney Daily Mail)
"[JLS] has a sharp eye, a fluent pen and that omnivorous, innocently English curiosity about wild creatures... There are lyrical moments aplenty but this is not the cloying 'regardez-moi maman' nature writing. JLS's tone is level, involved, humorous and even self-deprecating... This is a rich, interesting book, generously studded with raisins of curious information." (Angus Clarke The Times)
"My holiday reading: [John Lewis-Stempel] knows not only all about the different kinds of life in such a place and how they all fit together, but can also write so vividly." (Philip Pullman The Guardian)
A love song to the land. A magical month by month observation through parted grass of the flora and fauna of a meadow.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm left in awe of the following: firstly, the quite astonishing range of flora and fauna thus seemngly-simple exercise encompasses (the list of same at the book's end runs to five pages), all under our eyes but largely never seen (or more accurately, never noticed). Second, the amazing powers of Lewis-Stempel's observation; his, compared to most of us, is x-ray vision - he can even find interesting things to see in the digging of a post-hole. A man to be envied, totally engaged with an intricate eco-system by the simple expedient of using his eyes.
A simple concept, an absorbing read.
A beautifully written book, with so much detail, it was a pleasure to read. So interesting and informative, I loved every minute of it, and found it a very relaxing bedtime read! It makes one appreciate the countryside and see it in a new, wonderful light!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with a love of the country and those who are city lovers will no longer be after reading this book!
His love for the land, and it's citizens, shines out from every page, as does a genuine understanding of nature's annual cycle. The book is written as a diary but whether your interest is in ornithology, botany, biology, agriculture or just a desire to learn more about your surroundings, this book is a page turner. If you enjoy walking, and wish to know more about the land you are walking through, this book is a 'must read'.
Meadowland is true to its title, it isn't about impressive scenery, it is about a meadow. But the author succeeds in making that simple field, simply, impressive. By the end of the book, the reader is left with the feeling that this has been a really worthwhile journey to have taken.A journey through the, apparently, but far from, ordinary. A thoroughly recommended read.
Even at the most superficial level, as a journal describing the changes in his meadow in Herefordshire throughout the course of one year, this is a beautiful book. He makes the meadow come alive. In modern parlance the term 'meadow' has come to mean any rough pastureland near a stream or river, though the designation originally referred to a field left as grass for the specific purpose of being converted to hay. In Lewis-Stempel's account, though, the meadow is so much more than merely a pasture land and source of winter fodder. It is a haven for a huge range of flora and fauna, that Lewis-Stempel describes with deep affection.
The farm, which straddles the River Ecsley just a mile from the Welsh border, has been in Lewis-Stempel's family for generations, stretching back at least as far as the early seventeenth century, and he seems to know every inch of it, and almost every creature. In addition to his encyclopaedic knowledge of the cyclical comings and goings of the meadow's inhabitants, which he describes with endearing affection, Lewis-Stempel offers fascinating insights into the linguistic history of the names of the plants and creatures he describes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A beautifully written book. It reminded me so much of why I loved walking around the countryside with my grandfather as a kid (I bought this to read to him when he started... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Michael Sharp
A compelling and poetic journal in which every phrase reveals the authors ability to see in photographic detail all that is around him and its meaning. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Tweedledum
Arrived quickly and appeared to be a lovely book. My sister is well pleased with it. Better price than in the book shop.Published 6 days ago by M. E. Stones
Be transported to a year living in the countryside. Very good descriptions of nature and all its inhabitants, as they live their daily lives . Read morePublished 15 days ago by Teasel
My son bought me this book for Christmas & I have really enjoyed reading it. In fact I enjoyed it so much I have already bought it for another friend. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Catlover
Absolutely fantastic! Now I have to order Lewis-Stempel's other booksPublished 21 days ago by Howard Orridge
This was one of the most magical books I have ever read. I would never have thought that the activities in a field, over one year, could possibly be entertaining enough to fill a... Read morePublished 22 days ago by Elizabeth Canham