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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scapegoat Badger
It took me quite a while to read Patrick Barkham's book Badgerlands not because it is a bad book but the chapters on the cruelty, persecution and culling inflicted on badgers was upsetting and just made me put it down and try again in a few days. There are uplifting chapters on the descriptions of people being badger watchers and feeders. I am also glad that Mr. Barkham...
Published 9 months ago by Mr. D. Barker

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3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Stuff
The Badger is one of the UKs largest native mammals, and it is also an animal that people have early seen because of its nocturnal habit. The most common sighting is a twisted corpse alongside a road. bark ham has never set eyes on a live one and the book starts by him visiting a couple of setts at night with the hope of glimpsing one of these enigmatic creatures. He...
Published 2 months ago by Half Man, Half Book


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scapegoat Badger, 4 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. D. Barker - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
It took me quite a while to read Patrick Barkham's book Badgerlands not because it is a bad book but the chapters on the cruelty, persecution and culling inflicted on badgers was upsetting and just made me put it down and try again in a few days. There are uplifting chapters on the descriptions of people being badger watchers and feeders. I am also glad that Mr. Barkham has at last been able to engage with badgers and his descriptions are also uplifting.
One professional reviewer describes Barkham's last chapter as superb. I agree. I was wondering if I was really going to get anything from the book because as an ecologist I was hopefully waiting for a positive dénouement. There it was in the final chapter. In 2006 when we then lived in Somerset we wrote to the National Farmers Union about the poor standards of animal husbandry that we were witnessing in Somerset. The response from the Director of Communications was that the standard of animal husbandry was an area of concern. He also said the NFU "did not normally give advice on husbandry to its members as traditionally that have been the province of Defra." He continues "However, we are actively considering the possibility of introducing a professional qualification for people who describe themselves as "farmers" with the object of raising standards and sorting out the bad apples".
Well seven years later there still seems to be a lot of "bad apples" out there and Barkham quotes six professional vets who insist that intensive dairy-farming has produced "mutant cows" unable to resist TB because of the appalling conditions and breeding they are subjected to. So we have made the badger the scapegoat for a deplorable situation. I have as much sympathy for farm animals as badgers and I don't wish to see any animal destroyed needlessly but the solution is not the random culling of a wild animal. Surely time for supermarkets to cough up some of their profits and pay farmers to ensure the welfare of their cows and raise standards and sort out the "bad apples". Politicians also need to understand this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot recomend this enough, 16 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
I had heard lot about this book, having followed the recent tragedy in our countryside where so many badgers have been needlessly killed, and I was not disappointed. It is absolutely beautifully written, weaving the reader into the spell of the countryside and night time vigils so you could almost feel you were there, but as other reviewers have said, it is done in an incredibly balanced way so that the reader can see the picture from all sides, to understand the perspective of both badger lovers and haters. Again like others, a couple of chapters I found very hard and upsetting to read regarding torture and persecution these wonderful animals have had to experience from humans for hundreds of years, but Patrick has done an excellent job at trying to keep any of his own sentimentality out, whilst still expressing the deep passion of 'badger feeders', and the conviction of the scientists and vets as to the real causes behind the cruelty inflicted and the issues of bTB. Even if you are someone who has had little interest in badgers I don't believe you could fail to learn and enjoy this book and realise the importance of these enigmatic creatures. The bTB issue is even more poignant now, as unbeknown at the time the book was written, the statistics on levels of disease have now been proven to have dropped far more than ascertained at the start of the badger cull, due to errors in the Defra computer system.

Any lover of wildlife and/or our countryside will find this a wonderful read, and those that aren't - well may just change their minds.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid and sad, 27 Jan 2014
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Stewart M (Victoria, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
There are very few creatures that capture the mystery of the British countryside better than the badger – red squirrels and otters being the only other contenders.

So, a book about the place on Earth that has more badgers per square foot than anywhere else is almost certainly going to be a winner. The only thing that could hold back a book like this would be poor writing and dull characters.

This book has neither.

Starting with a consideration of why badgers hold such a special places in the imagination, then moving to their biology, with an entertaining section on those badger lovers who have often literally taken them into their homes. Finally (and probably) most importantly to the bovine TB issue, this book looks at many aspects of Badgerland.

Mr. Badger from Wind In the Willows is a main player in the first part, biological scientists in the second and mildly (OK, deeply) eccentric badger feeders also play their part.

We often meet the scientists again in the consideration of Bovine TB and badgers. It must be almost impossible to write a balanced account of this issue – but Barkham comes very, very near.

If the earlier sections on badger baiting do not make your blood boil, then the apparent way in which science (and its scientist) are being misused to bolster some form of political campaign probably will.

An excellent, sometimes saddening, occasionally amusing book.

Highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FANTASTIC BOOK!!!!, 21 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
I didn't know what to expect from this book, but I was captivated by it from start to finish. MARVELLOUS!
It is full of facts, figures, knowledge of the BADGER from someone (Patrick Barkham) who knows what they are talking about.
All "Wild Animal" lovers should read this and that should include David Cameron and his 'mates'!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars eye opening, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
a wonderful book its eye opening how the badger has been treated over the years .why should any one want to harm these beautiful animals ;it all so gives a very enlightening chapter on btb in cattle a must for wild life lovers
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A topical read., 12 Nov 2013
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ledette (Welsh Coast) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
Bought this for someone who could not get to the extermination sites in Glos. & Somerset. The book is both factual and at the same time a very important work for anyone with an interest in these persecuted ancient inhabitants of the British isles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read, 11 Jan 2014
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Excellent and well balanced read on a very tricky subject. Very sad at times when looking at the persecution Badgers face, but overall you get drawn into the wonderful world that is Badgerlands.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful. Touching but unsentimental., 7 Jan 2014
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TheParisien (Paris , France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
If you havent read Barkham's previous work "The Butterfly Isles" then you might not be expecting this book to be quite this great. Barkham writes in a magically enthusiastic way about the British countryside, without becoming sentimental, and it is this that allows him to investigate our relationship with the badger in such a readable way. He succeeds in making this account just as personal as the Butterfly Isles. One can only hope that he continues to find topics which inspire him to write more. If you read this you ll find yourself emploring other people to do the same. It's the type of book which you want other people to have read too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars loved and hated in equal measure, 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
A timely publication which reviews the quintessential icon of the British countryside, loved and hated in equal measure? Barkham analyses the evident and attempts to understand the rationale of the non-scientific badger cull with no aftermath monitoring authorised by Owen Paterson, recently departed Minister for (or against) the Environment. His very readable style has a way of transporting the reader out there into the twilight which is this enigmatic creatures world.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Stuff, 29 Jun 2014
This review is from: Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal (Hardcover)
The Badger is one of the UKs largest native mammals, and it is also an animal that people have early seen because of its nocturnal habit. The most common sighting is a twisted corpse alongside a road. bark ham has never set eyes on a live one and the book starts by him visiting a couple of setts at night with the hope of glimpsing one of these enigmatic creatures. He fails.

He meet with people who are badger feeders, and finally gets his sighting of a real badger in a back garden. These people care deeply for these animals, though opinion is divided as to whether they are helping the population or not. Whilst he is please he has seen these unique creatures, he still hasn't seen them in their natural habitat. He visits a rescue centre too, and sees people carrying on the work of campaigning and care for badgers. His grandmother, Jane Ratcliffe, had done this back in the seventies, and even wrote several books published too, including, Through the Badger Gate.

The badger is a political animal these days as is is blamed by the farming community for spreading bovine TB. Barkham meets people on both sides of the farm gate, and considers the evidence for and against. It is a complex subject, and the recent cull in the West Country has not proven one way or the other if it is working or not.

There is a chapter on the baiting of badgers, a 'sport' if you can uses that word for such horrible event, of setting dogs onto them. It has always been a working class thing, and sadly still takes place today, though much less frequently. He considers the badger in literature; i thought that this was the weakest part of the book.

With his new twins he moves from London out to Norfolk, a place not normally associated with badgers as it is too damp and low lying, but when wandering around he notices the signs of a sett and one evening sees a family of badgers.

A book well worth reading for those that want to understand more about these animals. Barkham writes in an accessible, engaging style and it makes for an enjoyable read.
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Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal
Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain's Most Enigmatic Animal by Patrick Barkham (Hardcover - 3 Oct 2013)
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