Customer Review

58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A walk in a different wood, 27 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: A Year in the Woods: The Diary of a Forest Ranger (Hardcover)
I think this book could prove to be a bit of a challenge to some people. Not because of its generally clear cut style and matter of fact approach. Not because of its simple chronological style, or its occasional lapses into purple prose. All of these things are central to a book written by a knowledgeable man who clearly has a deep and abiding fascination with the British countryside.

The key problem that some people may find is that the author kills things - kills them with regularity and kills them effectively. He also takes a pride in what he does, but also acknowledges regret. Deer, squirrels and rabbits are killed in the name of woodland management. The author, Colin Elford, is a woodland ranger and he is charged with the protection of his trees. As his trees thrive, so do many other plants and animal. But those animals which pose a threat are controlled. Elford sees himself has helping in the restoration of balance, in a land stripped of its large predators.

People who think of conservation as nothing more than benign neglect, or object to the killing of animals, may struggle with the way the author "drops" deer at regular intervals, and actively intervenes in the woodlands in his care. Those who see the need for management of habitats may not be troubled by this. Many people will sit somewhere between.

This book is a wonderful exploration of the countryside on the Dorset / Wiltshire boarder and without ever doing so explicitly highlights some of the various ways in which people can view the British countryside.

I dare say that the author has sense of connection with the people and practices that created a landscape. A landscape that many people hold dear and that has been under growing and intense pressure since the end of WWII. His book is a wonderful account of the current expression of part of that traditional.

I know that some people will object to the content of this book, but it comes highly recommended as a window into one aspect of the British countryside and its wildlife.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Aug 2011 10:17:34 BDT
Road Rocket says:
At time of this writing, I'm amazed that you have only received 23 out of 27 people that find your review helpful. Your review is outstanding and certainly the best and most honest of all the reviews. Perhaps some of the negative voters don't like the truth being told but what you say is absolutely spot on. This is an excellent book, well written and most interesting. However, like my daughter said after reading 'January', handed me back the book with disgust and said it's just about killing deer - which it isn't of course. So what you say is correct many people, especially townies, will read with unease at certain passages but nature in the raw is all about life and death which many people are cushioned against in our modern world.

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Aug 2011 11:12:00 BDT
Stewart M says:
Hi there - well I think you may have a point - what I wish would happen is that people would tell me what they did not like about reviews. I have no axe to grind on anything I review - by which I mean that I dont get paid for good reviews - so why not comment on what was unhelpful aboput what I post?

I dont have the talent to generate the level of verbal violence that Road Rocket seems to generate!

SM

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Aug 2011 13:46:16 BDT
Road Rocket says:
Thanks for the reply. My only talent for generating abuse is I like a bit of mischief and wind-up folk now and again. Also I find not going with the herd always brings enemies but it's no problem as I have a good laugh at the venom.
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4.3 out of 5 stars (26 customer reviews)
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Stewart M
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Location: Victoria, Australia

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