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Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life Paperback – 5 Jun 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (5 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014197558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141975580
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


George Monbiot is always original - both in the intelligence of his opinions and the depth and rigour of his research. In this unusual book he presents a persuasive argument for a new future for the planet, one in which we consciously progress from just conserving nature to actively rebuilding it (Brian Eno)

A Book of Revelations for our times (Farley Mowat)

Feral has really opened my mind to the history and possibilities of our landscape. It reflects a very real need in us all right now to be released from our claustrophobic monoculture and sense of powerlessness. To break the straight lines into endless branches. To free our land from its absent administrators. To rewild both the landscape and ourselves. It is the most positive and daring environmental book I have read. In order to change our world you have to be able to see a better one. I think George has done that (Thom Yorke)

Part personal journal, part rigorous (and riveting) natural history, but above all unbridled vision for a less cowed, more self-willed planet, this is a book that will change the way you think about the natural world, and your place in it. Big, bold and beautifully written, his vision of a rewilded world is, well, truly captivating (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

It could not be more rigorously researched, more elegantly delivered, or more timely. We need such big thinking for our own sakes and those of our children. Bring on the wolves and whales, I say, and, in the words of Maurice Sendak, let the wild rumpus start (Philip Hoare Sunday Telegraph (Book of the Week))

This is prose style as auditory experience; what majesty the eye notes in the landscape is echoed in the vocabulary. ... This is nature writing prepared to go off at a tangent when it needs to, prepared to explore the byways of our passions. Yes, there is a wildness here and it's a welcome one (Independent)

About the Author

George Monbiot studied zoology at Oxford, and has spent his career as a journalist and environmentalist, working with others to defend the natural world he loves. His celebrated Guardian columns are syndicated all over the world. He is the author of the bestselling books Captive State, The Age of Consent, Bring on the Apocalypse and Heat, as well as the investigative travel books Poisoned Arrows, Amazon Watershed and No Man's Land. His latest book, Feral, was shortlisted for the Great Outdoors Book of the Year award. Among the many prizes he has won is the UN Global 500 award for outstanding environmental achievement, presented to him by Nelson Mandela.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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George Monbiot is a well-known environmentalist. He has a regular column in the Guardian newspaper, writes occasionally for a number of other publications (all his articles can be viewed on the clutter free website [...] and a number of books already under his name. As a child, I sometimes dreamed of 'saving the rainforest' and probably for this reason Monbiot became a natural role model as I grew up, even though he quickly destroyed my overly simplistic views of 'good' conservationists vs the 'bad' deforesters. His writing is broad, encapsulating the links between many different elements of what is, invariably, a more complex problem than what first impressions indicate. In the mid 2000s, George Monbiot took-on the 'greatest environmental threat' - climate change - almost head-on in his acclaimed book Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning. This provided motivation for me to seek solutions, not only on some abstract policy level, but in my everyday life.

Fast-forward five years. Instead of fretting over our collective failure to overcome society's enduring addiction to fossil fuels, it is refreshing to see that Monbiot has moved on. Environmental problems are big and, due partly to the long timespans over which they develop, can seem intractible. Instead of discussing the problem, in this case lack of wild or 'self-willed' ecosystems, from an abstract perspective, Monbiot dives into some vivid descriptions of experiences in the wilderness. Contrast this with the monotony of everyday life and it becomes apparent that many people are suffering from ecological boredom.
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Format: Hardcover
I read Monbiot's book Heat, in which he sets out a plan of how the UK could and should repond to human-made climate change by cutting carbon emissions by 90%, in 2010. I was convinced, but not optimistic; the changes we need to make are radical; the restructuring in transport for example, would be deep, and despite the strength of the argument against doing so even I have failed to stop flying (I have restricted myself somewhat, but totally failed to persuade anyone else), which has become so integral to working life and family together-time as we spread ourselves across the globe.

So when I took up Feral I wasn't expecting to find so much hope. There is no single narrative here, Monbiot alternates and weaves together anecdotes of his fishing expeditions, intense, dramatic and dense with description and encounters with wildlife and rural places, with discussions of progressive biodiversity loss and habitat destruction caused throughout our history by gratuitous hunting, agricultural practices and often bizarre regulation. He describes how ecosystems are kept healthy by large predators, and explores the potential for reintroducing animals such as lynx and even wolves to the UK, as well as less controvertial animals like the beaver, a herbivore whose dam-building habits create opportunities for a variety of fish and all sorts of other fauna and flora to thrive. Some readers might wish Monbiot would cut to the chase but it's obviously important to him to share the sense of 'enchantment' and revitalisation that has informed his conception of 'rewilding'.

This rewilding is not a monolithic concept; it is being constructed differently by varied groups of advocates.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is not a coincidence that the finest writers on wilderness - Henry Thoreau, Sigurd Olson, John Muir and Aldo Leopold - all had a sound scientific knowledge as well as the capacity to wonder. Both are necessary to make sense of the interconnections and entanglements in nature. This is a book in that fine tradition.

All is not well with the ecosystem in our wild country. Some of our most destructive uses of the land - upland sheep farming, windfarms and blanket sitka forests - do not even make economic sense. The first two are utterly dependent on subsidies, and the latter are only there because the cost of extraction often exceeds the timber value. Deer numbers are at an all time high due to the absence of large predators and the policies of some sporting estates, and natural forest regeneration is prevented by deer browsing. Some of our wild land, in biodiversity terms, is almost sterile.

This book presents a hopeful vision of returning some of our wild areas to a self-willed state. I know many will dismiss the author as a fantasist but the ideas presented are reasoned and grounded in science. He is fully prepared to reject ideas which clearly would not work (re-introducing the most dangerous megafauna, re-wilding productive farmland, or return to a Mesolithic hunter gatherer lifestyle). He recognizes the significant barriers to feasible re-introductions.

This work is long overdue. The work of Trees for Life in re-establishing the Caledonian forest, the Knapdale beaver re-introductions, the phenomenal public interest in Springwatch, the boom in wildlife tourism all make the need for a serious discussion on where we are going, and why, essential.
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