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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 9 Jun 2013
By 
R. H. Cox "music lover" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Silent Fields: The long decline of a nation's wildlife (Paperback)
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Days Shoot, 24 April 2010
By 
T. M. Waspe - See all my reviews
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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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5.0 out of 5 stars An exhaustive account of our historical nation's relationship to wildlife, 15 Feb 2014
This review is from: Silent Fields: The long decline of a nation's wildlife (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!) because they were often seen in cattle pastures in the morning and it was believed therefore that they stole milk from cows in the night.

Likewise dippers were killed as they were believed to be female kingfishers and had taste for salmon. Choughs were hunted as their red beaks were 'stained with lambs blood' and they deliberately started fires in thatch (hence the scientific name pyhrrocorax, the fire crow)

I will never again believe anyone who talks of the wisdom of the ancients and how our ancestors were closer to nature!

Recommended to anyone with an interest in nature and Human relationships with the natural world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great value and service, 9 Dec 2013
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 10 Nov 2009
By 
R. Lovegrove "hello_girl" (london) - See all my reviews
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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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Silent Fields: The long decline of a nation's wildlife
Silent Fields: The long decline of a nation's wildlife by Roger Lovegrove (Paperback - 18 Sep 2008)
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