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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lost view.., 23 Jan 2011
By 
Stewart M (Victoria, Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Leaping Hare (Paperback)
Hares are splendid animals that seem not to have attracted as much scientific enquiry as you would expect for such a visible animal. The same cannot be said for the amount of folk wisdom and lore that the hare has generated. Hares are witches which have undergone a shape change, they are symbols of bad luck, they are all male, but can still give birth, and yet they can also be a symbol of the sacred as well and so on and on.

Although the first chapters of this book, first published in 1972, are about the biology of the hare, the real meat of the book is about the mythological hare, the hare in the mind, rather than in the field - or at least how the hare was known prior to the industrial and agricultural revolutions.

This book builds a lucid case to explain the rich folk history of the hare, both as animal to be hunted and as a symbol of "other worldliness". In this way it is actually superior to the more modern Hare (Animal) which covers much the same ground, but without similar clarity.

Much of the content of the book has been drawn from interviews with (presumably) old "country-men", who must now be long dead and who may have been the last link to the British countryside of the horse and manual labour. Thankfully, the transcripts of these interviews have made no attempt to render their accents phonetically, which makes these section not only more accessible but probably less patronising than they would have been if the accents had be reproduced with non-standard spellings.

This is a really interesting book based on the sets of wisdom that were built around close observation and contact with hares and rural life in general. Many of the ideas and myths that are presented in the book no longer seem to make much sense, but this is not because the people who devised them were in anyway less intelligent than us, but because they had a different relationship with the environment. As a window into a lost view of the world this book is worth reading even if you are not really interested in hares!

But, if you at all interested in how our understanding of an animal can build over time I would recommend this book. If you are only interested in the modern scientific view of the hare, this may not be for you. But if that is the case, you will miss out on an interesting study of a neglected animal.

Recommended.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The leaping hare, 25 Feb 2011
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This review is from: The Leaping Hare (Paperback)
A book for those who are interested in the hare as a mythical as well as factual beast. This book covers the history and folklore surrounding the hare. Of course,the hare doesn't know this , it just lives in our fields and tries to avoid being killed by senseless hunters!! In times past the hare has been revered, feared , ridiculed and loathed as well as eaten! There are many myths associated with hares and this book covers most of them. For example, did you know that hares are always referred to as "she" regardless of gender?
Hares are now protected in the UK, so much the better when one considers the hell they have been put through in the last 200 years. A fascinating read which will give the reader a true appreciation of this beautiful creature.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book you need to read on hares, 16 July 2012
This review is from: The Leaping Hare (Paperback)
I knew nothing about hares and after reading this poetic meditation on hares I know and feel a lot more about and for these creatures. I enjoyed it, and it was a new subject entirely. Perhaps if I knew about hares beforehand I would not be so impressed. But this book is well written and entertaining in a way that few nature writers seem to be.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 31 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Leaping Hare (Paperback)
Everything you need to know about the life and mythology of hares, written in an easy to read and accessible style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and informative book, 5 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Leaping Hare (Paperback)
A must read and probably the most comprehensive guide on the mysterious hare ever written. So much detail to absorb a book I shall be reading time and time again.
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The Leaping Hare
The Leaping Hare by George Ewart Evans (Paperback - 18 Mar 2002)
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