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4.7 out of 5 stars112
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 17 January 2008
Not everyone gets this book. I have given it to several likely suspects who were only half convinced. But for me it goes into my all-time greats. And has, and will, see me plunging into water for the sheer hell of it whenever i can. A 'wild swim' immediately turns the day into a special day. Deakin reminds us that just because no one else is, doesnt mean we cant. What a literary braindump of natural science, social history, geology, modernity, the human condition. A true eccentric, who held dear and firm his beliefs in this ever-changing world. Roger, I salute you!
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on 18 November 2008
I'm only about a third of the way through this book but wanted to add to the reviews on the site. If, like me, you happen on this page by accident and think "why not?" please follow through with that first thought and buy this amazing book. It's so rare to find work that really cant be criticised and this, the eloquent reflections of what must have been a wonderful man, could well be one of those rare finds. It's exceptionally well written, filled with intimate details of what England must have been like in less commercial times and as fluid, rhythmic and enchanting as the rivers and streams the author so clearly loves. Did I mention you should buy it?
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on 18 June 2001
A quote from the cover - 'A delicious, cleansing, funny, wise and joyful book, so wonderfully full of energy and life. I loved it'. Tis true. It's an ideal relaxation book. The author swims in rivers, lakes, lidos, the sea and other outdoor watery places around Britain and describes beautifully the experience of the inner man and the nature he feels so much a part of. He throws in interesting history and anecdote to enlighten us as to how many of the swimming holes came to be. You end up feeling like you're sharing the journey with someone who truely loves what he's doing.
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on 29 May 2008
If you're the kind of person who sees water and immediately wants to go in, this is the book for you. It's practically a bible for the wild swimmer; full of marvellous places and written with such likable enthusiasm and fascinating detail that I really wished it were longer. Such a shame that he won't be writing any more.
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on 7 March 2000
Such a wonderful book! Layers of reasons to love it. He captures landscape, describes the physical allure of swimming, it's funny, interesting and beautifully written. Gathers and celebrates the numerous reasons why humans are so drawn to water.
In the unlikely event of me being invited on Radio 4's "A Good Read", this is the book I'd take along. Confidently.
I can't speak highly enough of it. And I only picked it up on a whim in a bookshop.
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on 8 July 2000
Its difficult to believe that an original travel book can still be written about the British Isles but Roger Deakin has made it look so easy.
I hate to use the phrase "instant classic" but that is what it is. Beautifully and honestly written but also providing a last look at a countryside and way of life we regrettably left behind in the last century.
Impossible to look at a river, stream or loch in the same way again.
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on 30 April 2010
I was not particularly interested in swimming when I bought this having read "Wildwood". It is wonderful book, which I have recommended to many friends, but when trying to describe the subject they seemed uninterested. This book is about so much more than swimming in wild places; it's a reflection upon our culture and conformity, something I suspect Deakin (rightly) questioned. This is a beautiful book and should be read. Having read all three of Deakin's books, I would reckon this his magnum opus, which is not to say the others are worse but this is best. Definitely in my top ten of books I have enjoyed reading.
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on 25 November 1999
As an Australian resident I found this book to be absolutely fascinating. Beautifully written, this book gives a very different view to the traveller in Britain. Makes me want to visit all those places.
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on 22 June 1999
This is a wonderful book. It gives an entirely new vision of Britain; the "frog's eye" view, and it does so in a prose style that reminded me of Bruce Chatwin in 'The Songlines'.This is the most original and memorable travel book that I have read for years.
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on 7 December 1999
A beautifully written book. Roger Deakin takes us on a swimming odyssey through the rivers of the U.K. and reminds us of the neglected pleasures derived from immersing oneself in our waterways. His intelligent writing also has room for descriptive views of the surrounding flora and fauna,local landscapes,river history and manages to raise a few interesting debates along the way. Makes you impatient for the summer.
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