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Silent Fields: The long decline of a nation's wildlife Paperback – 18 Sep 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; First Paperback Edition edition (18 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199548153
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199548156
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 3.8 x 13.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

The facts are often fickle - which is why this is such an important book. Lovegrove has done a remarkable job. (The Times.)

This is a work of diligent science, rather than literature, but that is exactly what we need. (The Times.)

The future success of wildlife conservation depends on an understanding of the catastrophic failures of the past and Lovegrove's remarkable book makes a huge contribution to that understanding. (Sunday Times.)

About the Author

Roger Lovegrove, OBE, was Director of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Wales, until his retirement in 1997. He currently serves on a number of governmental environmental advisory committees. He is the author and contributor to numerous books on birds and wildlife, including the Collins Field Notebook and the Birdwatcher's Diary and has regularly appeared on television and radio. He was awarded an OBE in 1997 for services to wildlife conservation.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An utterly brilliant book resulting from some superb and thorough historical research.

There are no two ways about it, this book will open your eyes on Britain's changing relationship with the wild landscape throughout the ages.

The book is arranged by species and attempts to give the history of our attitudes towards each. Here you'll learn that the Red Kite was once protected by Royal decree due to it's ability to keep the city streets clean of refuse (in 1465 it was a capital offence to kill a kite); then was persecuted to the brink of extinction; before the battle began to change attitudes and begin it's restoration to it's former range in the 21st century.

Throughout the author will support his statements via data gleaned from original documents - the text of laws and decrees, newspaper articles, lists of destroyed 'vermin' numbers kept in gamebooks and parish records (and the bounty prices paid - 1 penny for a kite in 1566) and intersperse this with the reasonings given for each change in attitude.

The book is arranged by species but the comprehensive index allows you to search by geographical area. The whole country is covered but there is perhaps more detail given for England and Wales due to the greater number of surviving records.

Beyond the horrific toll of slaughter given in the vermin lists I also found the book fascinating in it's revelations about historical attitudes and beliefs. The author points out that before electric light it was very difficult for people to really know what was going on in the dark beyond their homes. Hence the historical slaughter of hedgehogs (2d per head in 1566, twice the price of a wildcat!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. M. Waspe on 24 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
A harrowing account of the abuse of our wildlife from simple ignorance to wanton destruction, it makes me ashamed to be human.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. H. Cox on 9 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good book to show how the nation's wildlife has declined over the past few years.
Very thought provoking.
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Format: Hardcover
Although a sad indictment of mans history, that's what happened. What a great read and brilliant value. As always, great delivery too.
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8 of 25 people found the following review helpful By R. Lovegrove on 10 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover
It's my Dad's book and my brother did the drawings so of course I am going to say it's great.
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