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Wildwood: A Journey Through Trees [Paperback]

Roger Deakin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 Jun 2008

Roger Deakin's Wildwood is a much loved classic of nature writing

Wildwood is about the element wood, as it exists in nature, in our souls, in our culture and our lives.

From the walnut tree at his Suffolk home, Roger Deakin embarks upon a quest that takes him through Britain, across Europe, to Central Asia and Australia, in search of what lies behind man's profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees.

Meeting woodlanders of all kinds, he lives in shacks and cabins, travels in search of the wild apple groves of Kazakhstan, goes coppicing in Suffolk, swims beneath the walnut trees of the Haut-Languedoc, and hunts bush plums with Aboriginal women in the outback.

Perfect for fans of Robert Macfarlane and Colin Tudge, Roger Deakin's unmatched exploration of our relationship with trees is autobiography, history, traveller's tale and incisive work in natural history. It will take you into the heart of the woods, where we go 'to grow, learn and change'

'Enthralling' Will Self, New Statesman

'Extraordinary . . . some of the finest naturalist writing for many years' Independent

'Masterful, fascinating, excellent' Guardian

'An excellent read - lyrical and literate and full of social and historical insights of all kinds' Colin Tudge, Financial Times

'Enchanting, very funny, every page carries a fascinating nugget. Should serve to make us appreciate more keenly all that we have here on earth . . . one of the greatest of all nature writers' Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

'Breathtaking, vividly written . . . reading Wildwood is an elegiac experience' Sunday Times

Roger Deakin, who died in August 2006, shortly after completing the manuscript for Wildwood, was a writer, broadcaster and film-maker with a particular interest in nature and the environment. He lived for many years in Suffolk, where he swam regularly in his moat, in the river Waveney and in the sea, in between travelling widely through the landscapes he writes about in Wildwood. He is the author of Waterlog, Wildwood and Notes from Walnut Tree Farm.

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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: 2.5 x 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,520 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'.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
243 of 245 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare, Eccentric Gem 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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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes but no but yes 28 May 2009
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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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, and inspired 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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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite Book 15 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After hearing a snippet on Radio 4, by Roger Deakin, I wanted to find out more about the man. This book came to my notice and I could not put it down. It is simply interesting, inspiring and somehow encouraging. His travels (even though I would not describe as a traditional travel book) help you to look at things around us, in the same way that Roger did. You cannot help but start to share the interests of the writer due to his enthusiasm and positive analysis.

I was disappointed to have finished this book and have bought other books referred to in Wildwood. This is now my 'favourite book' and I am considering in buying another copy to keep in good condition as my original copy is rapidly wearing out.

Sadly Roger will not be able to give us more of the same.
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109 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyful discoveries 26 Jun 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read 'Wildwood' in delighted instalments, each night before drifting off to sleep, mundanely abed, unlike the 'Boys'Own' adventurer that Roger Deakin obviously was. Never happier, it seems, than camping out in the depths of an ancient wood listening to the rookery above.

This is no dull natural history book but a series of blissful nuggets of information strung together on a thread of gleaming prose. Poetry, delightful humour, child-like glee and a profound erudition illuminate this work and make it a pure joy to read. I cannot recommend it highly enough & have bought copies for all my friends!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Part Natural History, Part Autobiography, Part Poetry
I'll be honest, I haven't actually finished it, but I would already, confidently, say this is the best non-fiction I have ever read. Read more
Published 17 days ago by J. Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A wonderful book
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. R Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great !
Published 2 months ago by Silva
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift
Brought as a gift, my boyfriend says it's a good read.
Published 3 months ago by Hannah
5.0 out of 5 stars Wildwood - The wind in the willows!
For anyone who loves wood and woods this is a must-read book! Full of fascinating anecdotes and knowledge. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Thomas Richards
2.0 out of 5 stars more nature
After having read Macfarlane's books and absolutely loving them I decided to give Deakin a try, as Macfarlane mentions and admires him so much. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Moya Nolan
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of nature writing
Deakin is possibly one of the greatest nature writers of our time. This book is simply glorious. A must have!
Published 6 months ago by Anna Ralph
5.0 out of 5 stars England at its best
This is, I think, just a superb evocation of England, an England I know well and love. Aldo Leopold would have loved it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Galen 1947
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I haven't finished it yet, but I'm loving it as much as I loved Waterlog, also by R. Deakin. Not living in England, I miss most of the geographic references; the book will be even... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Fernando Miranda
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag.
Made me want to lay a hedge, sleep out in the woods, make something out of wood, pay even more attention to the natural world.... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mr Paul D Grimwood
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