- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Chatto & Windus / Sinclair Stevenson; First Edition edition (7 Oct. 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1856193772
- ISBN-13: 978-1856193771
- Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 3.7 x 28.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Flora Britannica Hardcover – 7 Oct 1996
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The definitive new guide to wild flowers, plants and trees
About the Author
Richard Mabey is the father figure of modern nature writing in the UK. Since 1972 he has written some 40 influential books, including the prize-winning Nature Cure and Gilbert White: a Biography, and has edited both Birds Britannica and Bugs Britannica. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Vice-President of the Open Spaces Society.
He spent the first half of his life amongst the Chiltern beechwoods, and now lives in Norfolk in a house surrounded by ash trees.
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Top Customer Reviews
When it was published, I was further put off by the high price of the book.
I was completely wrong on both counts, the price, when the size, scope and quality of the book are considered, seems more than reasonable. As to the premise of the work, Richard Mabey, a genius writer in my opinion, pulls all the various accounts from amateur contributors together into a cohesive and coherent whole, that manages to maintain the same well mannered and good humoured tone throughout its long length.
It is possible to read the book piecemeal, picking out species that interest you specially , but I feel reading it from cover to cover best allows the reader to appreciate what the author has achieved.
This is not an identification guide, although the photographs are of top quality, and the amount of space devoted to each species varies wildly, but the "Flora" succeeds in its aim to be a folk history rather than purely a Natural History work.
Beware of books that may seem to continue this work, e.g."Fauna Britannica", which do not, in fact, have much in common with this fine volume.
The marvellous bit about it is the way the author has drawn from contributors all over the country who have passed on their local names, stories and memories about common British plants. A real storehouse to be read and enjoyed on those windy and wet days when you can't go out and look for yourself. Many people's memories are from childhood, a reminder that we often really get to know the plants and animals around us in our early years. So it is a book to keep and hand on.
As a home fererence work, I can reccomend it, and I have spent ages browsing through it's pages discovering interesting things about the plants that are all arround us.
Mabey assembles folklore, ecology, poetry and anecdotes from a huge number of contributors, making this a unique sourcebook for anyone interested in our relationship with wild plants. Proper indexing makes it easy to find not just plants but associations - for example, there are index references to "Wind in the Willows", the Great Fire of London and Midsummer Day. There is even an appendix giving plants' common names in Gaelic and the Scots and Shetland norse dialects (though not, inexplicably, Welsh). An extensive bibliography is augmented by a list of contributors; another index links locations to photographs.
Mabey has taken great pains to make this a useful, as well as an enjoyable book. It is huge, and you'd dip into it rather than reading it cover-to-cover. Use it throughout the year, reading up on plants you have seen or might like to go in search of. For something lighter and more delicious, try the book's forerunner The Flowering of Britain, which is magical and inspiring, as well as being a racy and engaging read. A book on the folklore of plants which complements this book is The Englishman's Flora (Helicon reference classics) by Geoffrey Grigson
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really good history and insight into the world of plants. Lots of brilliant pieces of information put together by a man who knows his stuff more than most.Published 14 months ago by Bryzo
Every home should have this book - it is an essential point of reference which can have no electronic substitute. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Smithers
A lovely work of reference. Unpretentious, informative without being highbrow and beautifully illustrated with some quality, non-digital, photographs.Published 16 months ago by Chris Sellers
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