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British Isles: A Natural History by [Titchmarsh, Alan]
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British Isles: A Natural History Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Length: 216 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

A beautifully illustrated historical survey of Britain s natural treasures."

About the Author

Alan Titchmarsh is the author of four bestselling novels. He has been the main presenter on BBC2's GARDENER'S WORLD since 1996 and is also the main presenter on GROUND FORCE and his new series HOW TO BE A GARDENER.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 16331 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Digital; Reprint edition (31 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008FY55AS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #841,374 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A difficult book to review, and for all the wrong reasons. Firstly, the subject matter is fascinating and there is much to commend the book in terms of the quality of its (profuse) illustration. The television series was excellent, its photography and animation simply stunning at times. However, the book does not live up to the quality and scale of the TV production. It offers a safe, general discussion of the emergence of the British Isles as a geographical fact, then goes on to offer a compressed potted history of the first settlers, emergence of a rural society, and the process of urbanisation and social change which has helped shape the landscape.
It's all very interesting, and the book does provide quite an engaging narrative. But the words seem sparse, lost amidst the illustrations. As an introduction to the history, prehistory, and geology of the British Isles, it is, in places, too short and too simplistic. The book lacks the graphic quality of the television presentation.
Now, quite clearly Alan Titchmarsh has put his name to this volume. He seems a nice, genuine bloke, and there's no doubt he knows about gardening. If I were to buy a book on gardening, I'd probably look at something by him. But if I read a book about the geology of the British Isles, I want it written by a geologist. If I read a book about the history of the British Isles, I want it written by an historian. Simply taking a 'celebrity' and sticking his name below the title seems cheap and exploitative of the general public.
Anyone truly interested in this subject would be much better advised looking at Hoskins' "The Making of the English Landscape" (a recognised classic), or any of the excellent titles by Richard Muir - say his "Landscape Detective: Discovering a Countryside".
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Format: Hardcover
I have to disagree with the other review. I thoroughly enjoyed the programme and the book is an added bonus, taking the story on further and written in a clear, informative and engaging way. I found the subject fascinating and wanted to read more about it but I don't want to read an academic tome on geology. This book is a perfect compromise of education and enjoyment. The illustrations are also wonderful and add extra interest - it's a book that may make its way under the Christmas tree in a few of my friends' houses!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many of us really do get into the habit of underrating our isles, don't we? "Ah, Britain", many of us say. "A wet, gloomy, boring country that I can't wait to leave behind when I go abroad." But this book is a treasure trove of pure enlightenment that will well and truly put that mind set to bed. It's a trifle unfair actually. In the overall scheme of things, Britain has never really been highlighted by documentaries as a particularly exciting place. Well, okay, maybe it has, but those documentaries which show you the big boys like The Grand Canyon of Arizona, or Mount Everest of the Himalayas really do make old blighty look like a very bland place by comparison. But as you read this book, you realise that underneath Britain's rather muted-looking exterior are prints of the past which you don't actually need to look too hard for to see and appreciate. This book will show you that our home land actually IS okay, and that we DON'T need to spend an arm and a leg going to the most officially all-out exotic places we can find to really see beauty and have adventure. It's written in a very agreeable dialect as well, which doesn't include any senseless jargon or jibberrish, (well, it's good old Mr Titchmarsh; what do you expect?!)
This work takes you on a phenominal journey of discovery, starting in the deep mists of far-gone prehistory, when our islands weren't even vaguely recognisable as the ones we know today. It then moves on, taking us on a grand tour which sees our islands developing over time, through prehistory, the Ice Age and through human history, right through to the present day. And it even briefly discusses how our islands may fare in the near-future.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alan Titchmarsh is not a professional geologist, historian, geographer, or climatologist. He's not even a professional naturalist. His area of expertise is in gardening and broadcasting - two words that can be synonymous in the right context - but it is as a communicator in which Titchmarsh excels in this book. Yes, like the excellent TV series to which it relates, the words have been written by the man himself, but the reading on which he has based his knowledge has been wide (if not terribly deep), as evinced by the bibliography at the book's end. In the introduction Titchmarsh modestly justifies his credentials by telling us that "my love of nature has always gone hand in hand with my passion for growing plants. I still have a bird book by my desk, and the fact that I refuse to use garden chemicals is due entirely to the fact that other forms of life have every bit as much right to use my garden as I do."

So Titchmarsh's book is in many ways an introduction to the subject of the natural history of the British Isles; a kind of arm around your shoulder asking you to look at the view, whilst with his other arm he points out at the landscape below to describe features of interest. There are helpful messages for those new to the study, for example telling the reader how to pronounce the word `gneiss', and also helpful messages to those of us who have studied the landscape since we were born, like what is the best grass to chew on whilst contemplating its beauty and meaning. In addition, there are many separate boxes throughout the book to explain concepts and features in more detail from rock types and plate tectonics to the freezing of the River Thames during the Little Ice Age.
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