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on 15 May 2012
I've been familiar with some of Conor Mark Jameson's writing in Birds Magazine, BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Guardian and was really looking forward to reading this.

I wasn't disappointed. The book - while covering some important stuff - is totally accessible and a delight to read.

Personal and poignant moments are combined with the history of Rachel Carson's work and the importance of her legacy today. At times moving, at times lyrical, this book combines serious fact and comment with some unique insights that reveal Jameson's genuine passion for our planet and the wildlife that walks upon or flies above it.

The accessibility and compelling nature of this book has inspired me to find out more about the history of environmentalism and how it affects the landscape we have now.

Highly recommended - for anyone who just loves a good read, as well natural history writing fans, bird and wildlife lovers, countryside aficionados and conservationists.
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on 16 May 2012
So, not having read a book for pleasure in an age I wasn't expecting to turn this book around in a short space of time - but that's what happened. This book is a great read - it does so many things without you really noticing - it engages, entertains, informs and even inspires - encourages you to lift your head from the pages and take a second to think about your surroundings. It's not pompous or pious about the environment, but reminds you of your place in a greater story.
The author's voice is writ large over this book and provides much of the central colour. His passion for the subject matter is clear, but communicated in a way that is inclusive. I think this book is a good read for all - but will be particularly appreciated by those with an interest in nature - whether walker, gardener, traveller or fully fledged conservationist.
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on 15 February 2013
Compelling reading for anyone who has a concern about the future of life on earth. Not being a bird watcher, I haven't followed the specific loses of birds but to me the general disappearance of our wildlife has been unmissable. This book very gently relieves the current health of nature, not only in the UK but across the interconnected world. Using birds as a barometer it suggests realistic changes to come; offering possible reasons for declines, highlighting hurdles for improvements; yet, rightfully, never losing a sense of hope.
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on 15 December 2012
What they said about Silent Spring Revisited:

"Essential reading for all contemporary environmentalists... A rich and important record of the triumphs and disasters. Anyone who has grown up enthralled by nature, will enjoy the young Conor's early experiences of wildlife and how the interest turned into a healthy obsession."

"If Nick Hornby loved nature, he might write a book like this."
Martin Harper, RSPB Director of Conservation

"An autobiographical strand gives a human aspect to the narrative, and there are a lot of fascinating details... the author succeeds, with a readable book which refreshed my memory."
BTO News

"A trip down memory lane... a history lesson it certainly is, but stodgy it is not. Anecdotes and details bring the decades to life... It is very important that we have this book's clear record of what happened."
Devon Birds

"A lively read... what makes Jameson's work especially enjoyable is the personal slant... This is a book that needs to be read."
Birdwatching magazine

"A fine writer, who weaves together an artist's sensibility with a conservationist's sense of reality... a vital read."
Birdwatch magazine

"Jameson uses Rachel Carson's 1962 work Silent Spring as a focus for reflection on conservation and environmentalism in the decades since then."
Nature

"Some lovely stories, and I really enjoyed dipping into the years and remembering. A delightful pot pourri".
Mark Avery

"Lifted by the personal notes into an entertaining and easy read."
Birds magazine

"A tale worthy of Edgar Allan Poe at his hair-raising best... every conservationist, every naturalist and every environmentalist should read Silent Spring Revisited... it should become a standard school textbook if the planet is to be saved."
Kentish Times
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on 17 December 2012
This well researched book gives a detailed history of conservation over the last half century, including the author's own research into our lost birds. Yet it is much more than an account. It is brought to vivid life by the inspiring and sometimes poignant personal stories of the author who has spent his life championing birds nationally and internationally. The book is beautifully written with memorable descriptions: a dipper's song carried down a river; a frozen bird under a bridge; the bleak landscapes and destroyed hedgerows of East Anglia, which contrast sharply with the hedgerows of the author's neighbourhood, which as a parish councillor, he and other hedge laying volunteers have laid themselves. In my opinion Silent Spring Revisted is an important, well written book.
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on 2 February 2014
This book reads as a timeline from the 1960s through to 2012, and is a very useful overview of the major events and evolution of the environmental movement - primarily bird conservation, and primarily the work of the RSPB in the UK (and later, other places).

There's a lot of information to take in (well it was an ambitious task to write), with many facts, details of research, questions and ideas, but at times it does feel like reading a list - with some details hurried over and others seeming irrelevant or missed-out, in what is a very rapid run-down and condensing of more than 50 years of stuff. It does also feel at times like a hopeless, depressing record of one oil spill after another..... but, that is what happened/is happening, and small bits of hope are restored in other places. It focuses heavily on the RSPB and it's achievements (fair enough as the author works for them), and as the author says in the beginning - it is written from a very personal standpoint. However, it does well to bring-in news headlines, events in popular culture, and in generally trying to convey the wider political atmosphere and context of each year - all very important in trying to understand The Bigger Picture.

What really makes this book for me, is that the "story" is also punctuated with autobiographical accounts and memories; the author growing up, and embarking through a life and career shaped and enriched by birds. This personal dimension adds poignancy, humour, insight and comment. It makes it a very human story, which I wasn't necessarily expecting from the cover/other reviews.

Overall an enjoyable, very readable and personable writing style, and a valuable insight into the decades which I am too young to know personally. The running themes and links back to the starting point of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring", as well as J.A. Baker's "The Peregrine" and other highlighted poetry and prose give it a well thought-out and creative flair. There's a lot going on in this book, and on lots of different levels!
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on 11 June 2012
First of all, full disclosure: the author is a client of mine. Having said that, no special pleading or log-rolling is needed for this book.

It's an unusual book in that it takes a light touch to a heavy subject: species extinction, or the threat of it. Taking as his starting point Rachel Carson's seminal work, 'Silent Spring', Conor leads us on a chronological world tour of the threats facing the world's birds, coupled always with a ray of hope as he shows us how small steps - and occasional big ones - can make a real difference.

Starting in the early sixties, he weaves a skillful and engrossing tale mixing observation, autobiography, travel writing, research and history that takes a hold of you slowly, but surely, and then never lets up until the closing pages that bring us right up to date in 2012 (a publishing marvel in itself).

His writing blends precision (always the first goal of any serious writer) with vivid description and evocative vignettes of life amongst birds from Scotland through New Zealand and the Amazon to his current home in rural Bedfordshire.

I am about as averagely green as the next man, ie not much, but I notice birds more now thanks to Conor's prose and clear passion for his subject.

As an aside, the book itself is rather beautifully produced with a great front cover and spare pencil illustrations at the start of each chapter.

If you are even vaguely interested in birds, "the environment" or how an individual (even one not working for the RSPB) can make a difference, read this book.
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on 21 June 2014
I bought this book since I was looking for a book on how the environmental movement had developed in relation to landmark events over the last 50 years. The blurb on the dust jacket (reproduced above) seemed to indicate that this was it. I was to be disappointed (initially). It is actually focussed on birds; mainly British birds, and moreover on the work of the RSPB. It does not even take take Silent Spring as the starting point; it takes J.A. Baker's 'The Peregrine' as the springboard to consider issues that have affected birds (I guess 'The Peregrine Revisited' wouldn't have been such an appealing title). That being said, I like birds; I am interested in birds and the work of the RSPB and I found this a fascinating and highly readable account which interweaves wider issues with personal experience. However, the work is unduly biased toward the work of the RSPB. For example, when considering citizen science, the collection of large-scale data by volunteers, the BTO does not even get acknowledged for its great work.

That being said, it's the first time I have read Conor Mark Jameson and I will certainly be looking to read more of his work. He writes well and at times can be quite poetic. So if you are looking for how the modern world has affected birds and how the RSPB are the heroes in this narrative then this is the book for you If you are looking for the book that reflects on 'the growth of environmentalism since Silent Spring was published' as described on the dust jacket then you might be disappointed.
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on 1 May 2013
Silent Spring is a great read, as someone who appreciates nature this book explains in an easy manner how that nature has been under threat from mankind and how the good folk at the RSPB and its members along with other conservation charities have been working hard to help save and protect it.
Like Conor, I`m a child of the late sixties and his recounting of key events both personal and public over the last 40 years was a happy trip down memory lane.
Having enjoyed Silent Spring revisited I will certainly be reading Conor`s other book - Looking for the Goshawk.
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on 8 June 2012
This book is excellent. Apart from being very interesting and easy to read it also draws together lots of strands, particularly historical ones. `How we came to be where we are' is going to be an invaluable lesson to those who want/need to plan where to go next. There are also some echoes of childhood in Lowland Scotland which (in my opinion) hit the spot.
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