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The Green Road Into The Trees Paperback – 21 Mar 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Windmill Books (21 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099558394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099558392
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 205,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"He is an illuminating companion…frequently comic, his voice is original and engaging; proof that it is the walker, not the path, that counts." (Independent)

"An immensely enjoyable book: curious, articulate, intellectually playful and savagely candid." (The Spectator)

"He records more than impressions: there are fascinating excursions into neglected areas of British history, and conversations with hippies, travellers and farmers, which makes Mr Thomson’s journey a joy to follow." (Country Life)

"Often funny and always enlightening" (Candida Lycett Green Countryfile)

"I would love to walk with Thomson" (John Sutherland Financial Times)

Book Description

WINNER OF THE 2014 THWAITES WAINWRIGHT PRIZE

Award-winning British travel writer Hugh Thomson explores the most exotic and foreign country of them all - his own.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a joy to read, endlessly entertaining, informative, quirky, fun and funny. It describes a 400 mile walk along the prehistoric Icknield Way from Dorset to the Wash, weaving seamlessly together landscape, history, archaeology, literature, art, agriculture, and personal reminiscence. The author shows us around many prehistoric sites starting from 3700 BC, sometimes using imaginative methods to gain access denied to the general public, but he also keeps us up to date with modern England, not least through conversations with a diverse cast of characters from all types and levels of society, many of whom are personal friends of considerable interest. He is not too complimentary about aristocrats, but complains that they "can often charm" him "into submission". He says it is "emphatically not a guidebook". Think of it more as a travel companion. Hugh wears lightly a lot of learning and shares it chattily. At the Norfolk end of the walk, he introduces us to two recently uncovered Bronze Age sites: Seahenge (2049 BC) and Flag Fen (between 2000 and 1350 BC), and reveals that more land was farmed during the Bronze Age than at any other time in our history and Britain was "at the top of the European commodities market". He debunks the view that the Romans came and woke us up. "It is as if Peruvian history began only when the Spaniards arrived, for they, like the Romans, were the first to write anything down." Hugh has been described as "a writer who explores" rather than the other way round. He started life as a film maker, and has written widely on South America and other parts of the world. He sees connections that would evade most others even if they had the relevant knowledge. Who else would compare climbing (and filming) Kilimanjaro with trudging up the Wittenham Clumps? And if you doubt this unusual penchant, look up "Archaeologists" in the index. It says "see minicab drivers".
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Format: Hardcover
Hugh Thomson writes with a sense of humour and a sense of perspective at the England off the beaten track, or more specifically on the Icknield Way (an ancient road from Dorset to Norfolk). This delightful book should be read by walkers everywhere however as Thomson captures the spirit of a more historic (or even pre-historic) and rural England. As well as QI like interesting facts the book is also littered with some attractive illustations. An excellent book to read on a holiday in England, or give as a gift.
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Format: Hardcover
Hugh Thomson takes a trip along the Icknield Way from Dorset to Norfolk, following an ancient path which links dozens of natural and man-made points of interest. His comprehensive account of pre and post Roman sites along the way is fascinating and reveals that the past is very much still with us. Thomson's background in archaeology and English literature shines through his writing as he enhances an already beautiful landscape with expertise and elegance. Highly recommended and a great way to complement a very British summer.
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Format: Paperback
Some people are said to wear their learning lightly. Hugh Thomson is not one of those people, and therein lies the problem with 'The Green Road Into The Trees'. In part this book succeeds as an informative and thought-provoking diary of a walk along the Icknield Way from Dorset to the East Coast. Literary and historical links to the landscape traversed are liberally and sometimes interestingly placed (rather than woven) into the narrative. It's interesting and amusing at times, but ultimately the author comes across as rather smug and self-absorbed, desperate to impress the reader with his knowledge and all round general 'hipness'. If I encountered Hugh Thomson on a walk, I'd like to think I'd buy him a pint, but on balance I think I'd hide in the ditch!
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Format: Hardcover
The Green Road Into The Trees is a refreshing book which rejoices in the spirit of the English countryside. Thomson refers to various other writers' work on the natural history of the Icknield Way as he appreciates the wildlife and scenery along his journey. More impressive though is his knowledge of historic sites - Stonehenge, the horse at Uffington, Avebury and Seahenge and dozens more - as well as the way they have shaped their surroundings. An excellent read for those interested in the increasingly popular 'staycation' and a fabulous way to celebrate the natural beauty and history of England, right on our doorstep. What with the likes of London and other cities becoming global and fragmented, Thomson directly and indirectly argues that there is still an England - of traditions, poetry, eccentricity - in the countryside.
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By Stewart M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 20 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Walking is (or at least was) a bit of national obsession in England - the after dinner walk, the Sunday walk in the sea air, the brisker pleasures of the Lakes, or moors and Downs. The last two books I have read reflect this passion.

The first - The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot - is a mediation on walking itself, while this book is a more conventional journey on foot along the Ikcnield Way. But the similarities do not end there: both books walk some of the same physical ground, both books refer to the poet Edward Thomas frequently and both are keenly interested in the way we (or our long gone ancestors) place ourselves in a landscape, and both are clearly written from a position of considerable knowledge and understanding.
But both books as also very different.

This book follows a slow and meandering journey along the whole length of the Ikcnield way from the Dorset coast to the edge of East Anglia - a walk through an English summer, spent under clear skies and dotted with Iron and Bronze age sites. The authors depth of knowledge of the archaeology of the Way shines through on almost every page - and the book is at its best when he is conjuring images from past. This is not to say that his observations of on the current state of England are poor. It's just that just that the modern sections tend towards accounts of people wearing funny hats and saying strange things.

These sections are well written and often funny, but they do feel conventional. This compares to the sections that are rooted in the past, where the author manages to summon a sense of place that locates the landscape both in the present and the past.
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