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100 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book,
Anyone who has a deep interest in the history of our woodlands and landscape would have read at least a couple of Dr Rackham's excellent books. His most famous is the History of the Countryside (Dent 1986) which gives the reader a real insight to just how our landscape came to be. His work Trees and Woodland in the British Landscape (Dent 1976) is long accepted as the best work on the subject, Rackham's book being both a comprehensive history of Britain's woodlands and a fieldwork guide that presents tree individually and as part of the landscape.
After many years we now have Woodlands. It's been quite a wait for Rackham fans but worth every minute. This new work focuses on new historical discoveries and theories. It puts woodlands within today's context. In previous books the then current issues of inappropriate management by bodies, such the Forestry Commission and the National Trust, and the threat of acid rain are mentioned. We now have Climate Change and the ongoing march of over-development. The carbon neutral con-trick is highlighted by Dr Rackham. He points out that planning trees cannot stop Climate Change, as they can't live long enough. He continues to point out the dangers of inappropriate tree planting and the need to manage and sustain our woodland heritage. The ongoing menace of grey squirrels also gets a mention.
This book, aimed at the non-specialist, investigates what woods are and how they function. In lively style, Rackham takes us through how woods evolved and how they are managed. Basic botany such as understanding roots, longevity and tree-rings are covered. The outline of woodland history, pollen analysis and wildwood, archives of woodland and how to study them, different types of woodland, the rise and fall of modern forestry. The book is illustrated with colour photographs.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting - It was much better than that!,
What I thought would be a ramble through a wood turned out to be a fascinating and enlightening guided walk through both time and nature, lead by a knowledgeable and entertaining guide. This book takes the reader through the history and ecology of woodlands in Great Britain and Ireland, showing how woods have been managed (and mismanaged) over the centuries. A must for anyone interested in the countryside and how it came about.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
As always Oliver Rackham's readable style of writing comes to the fore, whether you are a student, expert or layman you'll always find something interesting in this and all his other books. I feel that his criticisms and "biased" opinions all add to his charm, something that is lacking in the more dry and fusty scientific texts. Also Dr Rackham's passion and enthusiasm shine through in every sentence!!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite,
Oliver Rackham has been a favourite writer of mine for some time and this is amongst his most accessible. It is of course full of his prejudices and narrow view, very much based in eastern England. Much of what he says is hardly recognisable in my part of the country and woods that aren't ancient don't really figure. The study of Blackmore Vale in Dorset is of great interest though, and is something of a departure for Rackham. His discussion of the ' Vera ' thesis is also very good.
Perhaps this does not sound like a five star review, the reason is, Rackham is so good a writer and great a scholar that little criticisms take the place of condemnation. I also reccomend 'Ancient Woodland', 'Hatfield; The Last Forest', 'Hayley Wood', 'History of the Countryside', also his collaborative studies of the Mediterranean and more technical, George Peterken 'Natural Woodland'.
We could do with a one or two competitors in this field, for I would not reccommend Richard Muir or the type of book by Roger Deakin if you want sound information.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic in the making.,
This is another fine book by Oliver Rackham, and without question it will become something of a standard text. It is true that the coverage of the whole UK is not uniform and that the Eastern part of the UK is more thoroughly covered than other parts, but in a book of this size this should come as no surprise. I would suggest that this is a book for a reader with more than a passing history in woodlands and landscape history, for while it is very well written (as are all of the author books) it is encyclopaedic in its coverage of the issues addressed and this could be rather off putting for a reader looking for a more general work.
This book is likely to become required reading for all those who are actively involved in woodland conservation and management and also for those who are passionate about the origin and fate of the British countryside. Highly recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling read and an excellent reference,
This Book is written by one of the best known and academicly respected woodland scientists and historians of our time. Oliver Rackham opened a world of woodland that we all take for granted and he helps us to see what is right in front of our nose.
This book is a great read for anyone who has even the slightest interest in history, ecology, woodland, or all of the above and the way Oliver Rackam writes, makes it easy to follow, and to the point!
This book is also excellent for academic studies as i found this book invaluable, and used it extensively for my HND in Environment and Conservation Management. It contains everything from history since the last ice age to the establishment of the Foresry commission and the predicted future, Woodland management techniques and descriptions of the different types of native woodland.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic,
I have learnt so much about woodlands from reading this book. Easy to read and full of fascinating information, a revelation
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars,
This review is from: Collins New Naturalist Library (100) - Woodlands (Hardcover)
Lovely book. Full of fascinating facts. Written by somebody who loves his subject.
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Collins New Naturalist Library (100) - Woodlands by Oliver Rackham (Hardcover - 4 Sept. 2006)
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