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Wild Hares and Hummingbirds: The Natural History of an English Village Paperback – 2 Aug 2012

29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099552469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099552468
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Delightful, soothing and informative " (Daily Mail)

"An enchanting book, Wild Hares and Hummingbirds is a combination of celebration for what is and regret for what is passing. It is elegiac" (Daily Express)

"An enchanting month-by-month guide to "the natural history of an English village". As richly evocative of January as of June, Moss captures the flora and the fauna of his Somerset home with a grace and charm to warm the coldest winter night" (Independent)

"[A] charmingly produced book…readers are in the hands of an expert" (Steven Barfiel The Lady)

"This engaging account…should spark interest in country-dwellers and provide a transporting read for townies. In his placid style, Moss is profoundly informative" (Christopher Hirst Independent)

Book Description

A Natural History of Selbourne for a new generation - nature-writing at its finest, expressed through the natural history of one very special place.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Paul Brock on 4 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book for any keen or budding naturalist. Stephen Moss is well known to many for his distinguished career with the BBC Natural History unit and the ideal author of a nature diary. Here he follows in Gilbert White's footsteps, with a 305 page, one year nature diary about his home village of Mark, in the Somerset Levels. Having moved from London for a better quality of life in rural surroundings "the best thing we ever did", most folks in Mark must own a copy of the book. However, it is for any nature lover in the UK or abroad, the style of writing will inspire and inform. Even the most avid naturalist will learn new snippets of information on animals, insects, birds and plants. Hares and Hummingbird Hawkmoths are just two of the village inhabitants featured. There are no photos in this book, but there is an attractive cover and several scraperboard illustrations. Do not let this put you off buying this book, but let us hope that, like Gilbert White's book, illustrated version(s) appear in future!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stewart M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 1 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wild Hares and Hummingbirds is a rather wonderful book that draws inspiration from the classic The Natural History of Selborne (Penguin English Library)

Wild Hares takes us through a calendar year in the Somerset village of Mark. With the Mendips in the background, Exmoor just over the horizon and waters of the Bristol Channel washing at its feet, Mark in a village on the Somerset Levels. In many ways it is - to quote Piglet - entirely surrounded in water.

The Levels are a manufactured landscape, but for all of that they are rich in wildlife. This book is a beautiful introduction to the rhythms of this landscape and its wildlife. While not being a book only about birds, they are heavily featured in the book - but given their importance as markers of the turning of this year this is hardly a surprise.

The book is a gentle walk through a special part of the UK - and the use of the term "gentle" here is not a criticism. The writing clearly shows the affection the author has developed for his adopted home county.

For all that enjoyed the book I did notice I few sentences that I think are worthy of comment. The author poses the question that if we lose species that our grandparent took for granted can we still call anywhere the countryside? Well, I would say the answer is clearly `yes'. It's a different countryside, one that needs protection and help, but its countryside none the less. It's true that most of the changes that have occurred since the end of WWII have damaged it from an ecological point of view - but it is still a wonderful and precious place.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr James D Champion on 4 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ostensibly I bought this book as a present for my hare-loving wife. When it arrived and I had a chance to take a closer look I changed my mind - only a brief mention of hares, and I'd done that thing where I'd bought her a present because it was something that I really wanted for myself.

Anyway, this is good quality natural history writing and an admirable homage to the 'home turf' in the tradition of Gilbert White. If I'd read it a year ago I probably would have rated it as 5/5. However, in the past year I've read all of the writing of Roger Deakin and most of Richard Mabey's natural history writing and this book doesn't quite measure up to their standard. If you haven't read the posthumously-published 'Notes from Walnut Tree Farm' by Roger Deakin, read that instead of reading this book. If you haven't read Gilbert White's 'The Natural History of Selborne' then read that instead of reading this book. Read anything by Richard Mabey, instead of reading this book. If you've got enought time after doing that that then you can give this book a go. With Deakin and Mabey you feel like you're getting a unique personal insight into the 'natural history' of places, tolerably eccentric like a late-night Radio 4 programme. With this book the voice in my head sounded like a rather polished BBC Four natural history programme - not bad, just not as special as the premier league writers.

Before buying I also read the 'most critical' review I could find on Amazon. The reviewer pointed out that Stephen Moss is obviously a spring-lover, and with that seed of a thought planted it tainted my reading of the book. And although the mood is mostly upbeat and postitive, I'm sure he was lamenting the fact that the swallows would soon be leaving only days after they first arrived.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By md on 14 Feb. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Highly interesting, a worthy read. I have learnt many new facts regarding nature.
I would recommend this book to anyone who are especially interested in the British countryside.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sjbaker on 6 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A month by month diary of a village natural history. Interesting to read, and informative, particularly if you have an ordnance survey map and bird or wildflower guide handy, to check out the references within. The illustrations are good but would have been better in colour.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Kerry D. Beck on 27 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am seventy years of age and absolutely loved this book. It brought back many memories from my own childhood, having been brought up on my parents farm on the outskirts of a small village. Superbly written book! Thank you Stephen Moss!
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