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4.5 out of 5 stars56
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 13 February 2013
Thought id buy this for myself as i have read a fair ammount of Rackhams work, so was going to treat myself after finishing a tricky bit of work. I ,of course, was engaged by the writing but the quality of the printing and any photo / diagram reproduction is budget at best and shocking at worst. I know people who buy this will not just be looking at the pictures and there are arguements that its for a specialist not generalist but still, come on. I have many specialist books that are beautifully finished and presented.
But its still worth it to read his narrative on the landscape , on a budget
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on 10 June 2010
I bought this book as part of an attempt to learn more of the landscape and environment around me.

I could just about identify a Chestnut tree and a hawthorn. Basically, I was a complete beginner. So I bought some field guides, got out walking and in the evenings began reading through this book.

It is absolutely packed with fascinating tidbits about the Woodland which it takes it's name from. And it is not a shallow discussion. Very good levels of details and evidence are used - along with case studies and scientific data. I never find this dull - it is woven with a skill which makes the subject fascinating. I was very surprised to read about the myths surrounding the great Caledonian Forest which so often dominates discussion of woodland in Scotland, for instance. (I am in Scotland)

I realised even the small amount of knowledge I thought I had of trees was ill-informed. I thought all trees just grew from seeds and that if you cut them down they died. How wrong I was!

I did not expect to find the book so captivating and so easy to read. Clearly the author loves his subject but he is also a realist and not sentimental.

A good book which I recommend wholeheartedly.
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on 24 September 2012
This is a wonderful book in all respects. Informative and the prose style is a joy to read. If you have read Rackhams History of the Countryside (if not, you should) then you will know what to expect. My only niggle is that the book is listed as hardcover on Amazon, but was actually delivered as paperback. Mustn't grumble at this price though.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 May 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Woodlands is a fascinating, albeit specialised, read. After the introductory chapter, chapter two appropriately starts at the bottom with the essentials, roots and makes very interesting reading; but some of the subsequent chapters are rather more specialised, for example Pollen Analysis and Woodland. Other chapter titles include: Archives of Woodland and How to Study Them; Archaeology and Land-Forms of Woodland and Wood-Pasture; Uses of Wood and Timber . . . ; Ancient Woodland Plants and Other Creatures; Environment, Pathology and Ecology . . . ; Modern Forestry . . . ; and Experiments and Long-Terms Observations are just a few of the twenty two chapters. It is packed with information both specific and incidental to woodlands. The book includes, in addition to References, a Bibliography, Tables and a comprehensive Index.

The book is illustrated, the illustrations grouped in signatures spaced throughout the book, four in all containing over 200 photographs, maps and diagrams, predominately in colour. With two or more pictures to a page they tend necessarily to be rather small, adding to the impression, along with the small type and densely packed pages, that this a studios work and certainly not a picture book!

While Rackham writes essentially about British woodland, he makes it clear that much of what he has to say can be applied to other countries.
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on 28 March 2013
Its seems unfair for this book to be given an average of three stars, mainly due to its physical condition. Yes, ok, the photos are all black and white and not on gloss plates, but its not a major issue. Another reviewer mentioned large blocks of text, yes, it looks it at first glance, but its actually flows very well and doesn't daunt you while you read it. I think its straddling the ground between academic type books on similar subjects which are generally within the £60-£100 bracket and the lighter glossy cover natural history books, and what you think of the book probably depends on what you wanted from the book originally.

I dont care that the pictures are grainy or the spine is soft, its very well written, you learn very much from the book as you read it, and importantly, it makes you think. It takes an in-depth but extensive look at woodlands and woodland history in the UK and abroad, and although its over 500 pages long, it certainly is not boring or slow to read.

It certainly helps if you know a bit about trees prior to reading the book, not academically, but in a practical way, i.e., you know what all the common trees look like and a little bit about where they grow, but you dont have to have a degree to read it.

Just enjoy it and let yourself learn from it.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Oliver Rackham's book contains everthing about woodland that you could possibly think of - history, evolution, ecology, diseases, management and so much more, written in a clear and often opinionated style. It is a book to dip into; to read in a leisurely manner; rather than all at once. Its weaknesses ? For me it often lacks a clear structure and can be heavy going at times. Overall though, if you are interested in woodland, particularly in the UK, this book is required reading.
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VINE VOICEon 19 August 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a beautifully written and beautiful book about a feature of the countryside that has inspired awe, fear and wonder over generations: woodlands. The book left me torn! On the one hand I couldn't put it down and didn't want to leave; on the other I was longing to get out and explore some of the magical worlds he evokes. A wonderful book - as evocative and inspiring as Robert Macfarlane's The Wild Places, which I'd read previously. A tonic for this city-centre dweller.
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on 28 November 2013
Whilst studying woodlands for my university course, this book was recommended by a very highly respected lecturer and he was right to do so. Very indepth and thick book about our woodlands, lots of information to include in our coursework, an important reference to know. Couldn't be a better authority on woodlands and a great addition to my bookshelf.
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VINE VOICEon 30 March 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
but were afraid to ask! Seriously, this is an absolutely sumptuous work. If you are a dirt loving tree hugger, or even someone who works with woodlands, this comprehensive volume has to be on your bookshelf. It's been a few weeks since I received this for review and I still find myself dipping into it. It's not just the pictures, maps or or more detailed tech knowledge on woodlands management... it's full of interesting facts and findings. written with loving care and an eye for detail, this book is a work of art and I recommend it highly. Nuff said!
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on 12 October 2015
A scholarly and captivating read; this is an excellent book, full of Rackham's accumulated wisdom. The book's ongoing theme is the premise that ancient woodland is not the same the conservationist's much aspired to' Wildwood', untouched by human hands. The style is compelling, but slightly haphazard; fascinating, but not a casual read for most.

I would be delighted to recommend this to anyone with an interest in Woodland biology, Trees and the landscape, if only it could be published in a more user friendly form, it would happily merit 5 stars.

At 442 pages with another 150 or so pages of figures and pictures, this is no lightweight paperback. Big paperbacks are never easy to handle, but putting all the type into 10 points (rather than the more normal 12 point) makes reading this delightful book overly hard work, which is a pity.

This will be a much more pleasant experience on a Kindle (as a book lover, I hate to say this....)
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