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Customer Review

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It made me very angry, 4 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding (Kindle Edition)
Rarely has a book annoyed me quite as much as this one: for two very different reasons.
Firstly the argument is very powerful. That much of our landscape has been stripped of most of the natural animal and plant life, that for as long as modern humans have existed they have exterminated species on a terrifying scale, that much modern conservation is applying a sticking plaster to the stump of a crudely amputated limb and trying (and failing) to keep a landscape already reduced to far below its natural state from decaying further. and stories of how even modest attempts to redress the balance are blocked by governments total servitude to a tiny number of immensely rich owners of enormous estates.
"The British countryside" seems to be run for the benefit of three species: sheep, red deer and red grouse even when they drive out all else. There is much in this book which deserves to be more widely known, discussed,argued about and ideally changed.
This is also, unfortunately, a deeply personal book. Which is the second thing which made me angry. The very important issues raised struggle for space among endless personal anecdotes: George gets in his kayak and goes fishing, George runs across the African savannah with a Masai warrior and frightens him with a chameleon, George lives among miners in South America, George takes his kayak somewhere else and fishes some more, and these anecdotes, told in a rather over-blown, purple prose, crowd out the arguments, like the author's hated sheep overwhelming all vegetation. At times during these stories I was reminded of the classic review, "this is not a book to be tossed aside lightly; it is one to be thrown with great force."
Despite my irritation I would recommend the book: there are important issues raised which could have horrific consequences if we continue to have such a short-sighted view of mankind's relationship with the natural world and the author does have some interesting ideas - though I doubt we'll see wild elephants roaming the English countryside as he hopes. Beavers quite possibly, wolves in the Scottish Highlands I very much hope, but not elephants for quite a while, I fear. But I do wish he cut out the kayak stories.
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