Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Meadowland: the private life of an English field Hardcover – 22 May 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 191 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover, 22 May 2014
£23.09
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (22 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857521454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857521453
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.9 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"My book of the year. Meadowland is a seasonal journey of discovery, a pilgrimage that nurtures the soul and gives meaning to life; all life. Each beautifully crafted sentence provides a stepping-stone to absorb and understand the land, with the writer’s lyrical voice acting as guide and trusty staff as well as illuminating the mind’s eye with wonderful imagery and perceptive literary devices." (Stuart Winter Sunday Express)

"Fascinating ... Books have been written about entire countries that contain a less interesting cast of characters than Lewis-Stempel's account of one field on the edge of Wales. Foxes, red kites and voles become as intricately shaded as characters in an HBO drama, the readers' sympathies swinging between them and their adversaries. Not every English meadow contains such a vast variety of wildlife as Lewis-Stempel's, and he's lucky to live somewhere so unspoilt, but his immense, patient powers of observation – along with a flair for the anthropomorphic – mean he is able to offer a portrait of animal life that's rare in its colour and drama.

Lewis-Stempel's eye for detail and the poetic imagery of sentences such as "Behind me the river shouts with the abandon of a football crowd" or "Someone has stirred the clouds into milk pudding" are reminiscent of the late, brilliant Roger Deakin...

There is barely a creature in Meadowland that I didn't learn at least one interesting new fact about (the occasional tendency of badgers to hold funerals for one another is a particular favourite)." (Tom Cox Observer)

"Engaging, closely-observed and beautiful ... this author’s deep love of the world around him is as inspiring as it is entertaining. This wonderful book ... is most of all, a moving hymn of gratitude from a man so rooted, so full of joy that he likens his land to a cathedral and knows that: ‘To stand alone in a field in England and listen to the morning chorus of the birds is to remember why life is precious'." (Bel Mooney Daily Mail)

"[JLS] has a sharp eye, a fluent pen and that omnivorous, innocently English curiosity about wild creatures... There are lyrical moments aplenty but this is not the cloying 'regardez-moi maman' nature writing. JLS's tone is level, involved, humorous and even self-deprecating... This is a rich, interesting book, generously studded with raisins of curious information." (Angus Clarke The Times)

"My holiday reading: [John Lewis-Stempel] knows not only all about the different kinds of life in such a place and how they all fit together, but can also write so vividly." (Philip Pullman The Guardian)

Book Description

A love song to the land. A magical month by month observation through parted grass of the flora and fauna of a meadow.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The most beautifully written book I have read in a long time. I could not put it down. If you love the countryside and wildlife you will love this book. I was so wrapped up in reading the winter chapters on the train last night that the warmth of the air as I got off the train took me completely by surprise - totally transported to cold, but beautiful Herefordshire fields and hedgerows. And to reassure vegetarians - this is a love affair with nature, not all about shooting things - if it was I wouldn't have got past the first few pages either.
1 Comment 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The structure is simple - a 12 month diary of a 40acre English meadowland, starting in a bitter January. After the 12 months are pondered and described, there are itemised lists of all the flora and fauna described, storied and mused on. Read it alone to find out about bugles, bush vetch, quaking grass and stichwort. And odd little stories of curlews, gall wasps, red kites and springtails. Nature is leaned into, respected, even loved at moments, but Lewis-Stempel stays cool and well-read throughout, balancing the force and severity of the natural beats with his English detachment. It is a calm yet emotional read, and should make us all stop for a moment, or longer, to ponder how much we are removed from the vital world around us. Lewis-Stempel would never say so, but I sense he believes this is an important book. He has certainly put soul and much heart into this arresting and melancholic work.
Comment 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Marvellous. Lewis-Stempel writes of his month-by-month observations of nature at work in a few acres of his Hereford farm.

I'm left in awe of the following: firstly, the quite astonishing range of flora and fauna thus seemngly-simple exercise encompasses (the list of same at the book's end runs to five pages), all under our eyes but largely never seen (or more accurately, never noticed). Second, the amazing powers of Lewis-Stempel's observation; his, compared to most of us, is x-ray vision - he can even find interesting things to see in the digging of a post-hole. A man to be envied, totally engaged with an intricate eco-system by the simple expedient of using his eyes.

A simple concept, an absorbing read.
Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This may be stating the obvious but we are surrounded by fields and, probably, never even notice them. They are taken totally for granted. We look at buildings and immediately there are clues to their age. But a field? A field is just a field isn't it? Well, no it isn't and in this bookJoun Lewis-Stempel draws you, almost seductively into his world. A world of beauty and casual violence, but a world that is teeming with life.
His love for the land, and it's citizens, shines out from every page, as does a genuine understanding of nature's annual cycle. The book is written as a diary but whether your interest is in ornithology, botany, biology, agriculture or just a desire to learn more about your surroundings, this book is a page turner. If you enjoy walking, and wish to know more about the land you are walking through, this book is a 'must read'.
Meadowland is true to its title, it isn't about impressive scenery, it is about a meadow. But the author succeeds in making that simple field, simply, impressive. By the end of the book, the reader is left with the feeling that this has been a really worthwhile journey to have taken.A journey through the, apparently, but far from, ordinary. A thoroughly recommended read.
Comment 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Hmm… this is not the greatest natural history writing I have come across.

There are two reasons. First, the wearyingly excessive use of simile and metaphor, which ultimately become boring. There is barely a sentence without one or other and worse, they range from the barren ("low insectoid drone" p159); the ill-matched ("effervescent mole heaps" p68); the knicker-knotting ("I fret eschatalogically" p77); the elephantine ("lumined aethereality" p144) right through to, as if we haven't already had enough, ("Moles work in four-hour shifts of Stakhonovite endeavour" p61).

Second, the author writes in short sentences which, if used occasionally, are a useful technique with which to make emphasis; but in dollops - as here - they completely loose their impact by becoming just a batch of notes. In essence, the book is devoid of lyricism and so I fail to understand what the over-ripe review on the back of the dust-jacket is going on about.

Any good points? Well, there are interesting facts along the way - the derivation of meadow; wassail; the 'flushing' of grass and measuring the age of hedgerows are some of interest. His description of scything is not bad and, at the very least, will strike a chord with anyone who has engaged in this delightful skill. His List Raisonné (yes, really) of books at the end is pretty standard fare and offer useful starting points for further natural history study.
Read more ›
1 Comment 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback