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Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees Paperback – 26 Jun 2008

80 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reprint edition (26 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141010010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141010014
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A filmmaker and writer with a particular interest in nature and the environment, Roger Deakin was the author of Wildwood and the highly acclaimed Waterlog. He lived in Suffolk, and died there in August 2006, aged 63.

Product Description


Full of delight and joy and wisdom (Sunday Telegraph)

With this book Roger Deakin can be counted one of the greatest of all nature writers. His beautiful book should serve to make us appreciate more keenly all that we have here on earth (Mail on Sunday)

A breathtaking book (Sunday Times)

A masterpiece which deserves to be read and reread (Guardian)

One of my favourite kind of books. Few books make you change your habits; this one changed mine (Will Self New Statesman)


`A book that I have returned and referred to again and again since I first read it in the Summer'.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

253 of 255 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Howell on 29 Jan. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of those delightful books that you stumble on from time to time that is almost impossible to categorise.

Roger Deakin was a campaigner, writer and environmentalist; he was one of the founding members of Friends of the Earth. He was a true English eccentric. He lived in a house, in Suffolk with a moat - in which he swam regularly. A few years ago he wrote a book that centred on his desire to visit - and to swim in - most of the important bits of water in the UK (and many less important ones as well).

In this book Deakin turns his attention to wood - all things to do wtih wood, wood clearly being one of the passions of his life.

So, Deakin explores woods. He camps out in woods to be at one with the environment and the wildlife. He camps in woods in England and explores woods around the world. But he also turns his mind to other things to do with wood.

There are fantastic articles on driftwood for example, There are pieces on artists who work in wood. There are contemplations on the economic value of wood and how it may yet have a major role to play in creating a sustainable world economy.

Deakin's writing style is fluid, easy to follow and very entertaining. He is both eccentric and funny; a genuinely warm man.

Sadly, Deakin died just after this book was completed. I wonder to what extent this was conceived and put together as a very unique work of love. Still, Wildwood stands as a fine legacy to a superb writer.

I wish I could describe this book more fully but I simply wouldn't be able to do it justice. But if this sounds remotely interesting go and buy it. You won't be disappointed.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Black Box on 28 May 2009
Format: Paperback
I got this book last week for a spot of light holiday reading. I didn't know Roger Deakin's work or history beforehand, so I had no preconceptions - like many people I'm just partial to a bit of wood.

Within maybe 2 pages I was hooked - this guy can (could) really write. Within a chapter I was happily telling people they should read Wildwood, because it felt important and significant to do so - and why hadn't I heard of it before? The information being imparted was useful, interesting, thoughtful, and most of all wonderfully expressed. The text fires you up to get out and have similar experiences while you still can.

A week later and I've gone off the boil a bit; the book's slightly dull middle section dragged me down - with Deakin drifting around Europe & Australia with various friends in tow. It just doesn't have the sparkle of the earlier chapters. Which is a pity, because it would have been a stunning tour-de-force if sustained. At the moment I feel the very similar 'The Country of Wild Clover' by HE Bates - equally nostalgic, equally elegeic - shades it in almost every respect.

However it's still damn good, and worth the admission price for the first 100 pages alone. The overwhelming thing I take away from the book is the very simple message that you don't have to give up on having A Sense Of Wonder (thanks, Van) just because you're getting older and grumpier. The rest of Deakin's canon will certainly be on my 'must read' list from now on.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A lovely book. I came upon Wildwood as a novice, never having read anything by Deakin before - but he is good; he is very good. The book comes in four main blocks: Roots, about his home and youth; Sapwood, on British wood, woods and artists; Driftwood, on his travels in Europe, Australia and central Asia; and Heartwood, back to his home area of Suffolk. Each block comes in short chapters, full of information, insight, and excellent writing. He likes sleeping outside or in an old railway wagon, and links this to writings by Jefferies or Thoreau, recites the beams in his house, or starts talking about an ancient propeller hub in his study and diversifies that into walnut and all its applications, down to Jaguar gear knobs. I could have done without the Australian bits - they just don't resonate for me (hence four stars). But the Kazak and Kyrgyz chapters are wonderful, and more than make up for it. He is never dull - the writing is full of links to the familiar, observations on new insights, fascinating snippets. This is an inspiring book, by an inspired writer.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Murphy on 10 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
One of the tricks a writer of this type of non fiction must pull off is to make him- or herself - likeable. Otherwise, the impression, especially with nature writing, can be a little too earnest.

Deakin pulls this off in spades. He's the kind of man you can imagine meeting in his local pub, probably supping a real ale of some kind. He looks interesting, you fall into conversation, before you know it you've agreed to meet him the next day to coppice some hazel. I'll bet Roger Deakin had a lot of friends and acquaintances because reading this book makes you feel as if you know him. It is a book about trees, obviously this is a subject that fascinates him, but it is really about him and that's what makes it so readable.

Not that I want to downplay the forest element. I loved the description of cricket bat making (now there's a British industry for you), the part about the origins of apples (from the far East! Who would have thought it!), the process of driftwood decomposition. I complain in a review about "The Wild Places" that Robert Macfarlane fails to distil his messages sufficiently. I guess Deakin is guilty of the same thing, but with him it doesn't matter. The detail is so enjoyable, the character so engaging, that it's like reading a long letter from a dear, rarely seen friend.
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