The Wood for the Trees: One Man's Long View of Nature (Hardcover)

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From the author of Earth: An Intimate History, an exuberant "biography" of four acres of woodland, evoking a cosmos of living and inanimate things and imagining its millennia of existence

A few years ago, award-winning scientist Richard Fortey purchased four acres of woodland in the Chiltern Hills of Oxfordshire, England. The Wood for the Trees is the joyful, lyrical portrait of what he found there.

With one chapter for each month, we move through the seasons: tree felling in January, moth hunting in June, finding golden mushrooms in September. Fortey, along with the occasional expert friend, investigates the forest top to bottom, discovering a new species and explaining the myriad connections that tie us to nature and nature to itself. His textured, evocative prose and gentle humor illuminate the epic story of a small forest. But he doesn't stop at mere observation. The Wood for the Trees uses the forest as a springboard back through time, full of rich and unexpected tales of the people, plants, and animals that once called the land home. With Fortey's help, we come to see a universe in miniature.

About the Author

RICHARD FORTEY was a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. He was Collier Professor in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bristol in 2002. In 2003, he won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing About Science from Rockefeller University. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1997 and was elected as a Fellow in the Royal Academy of Literature in 2009.

Praise For…

“Excellent . . . wryly erudite . . . A fine playground for [Fortey’s] characteristic blend of wide-ranging curiosity, deft observation and deep research.” --The Wall Street Journal

“Fascinating . . . vivid . . . Fortey creates an astounding portrait of multilayered life in one relatively restricted space . . . [and] conveys unforgettably the staggering variety and abundance of the whole natural world.”  --The New York Times Book Review

"[Fortey's] remarkable scientific knowledge, intense curiosity, and love of nature mean entries erupt with the same richness and variety as the woods they describe. . . . Fortey's enthusiasm for his new wonderland is infectious and illuminating." --The Guardian

"Deeply knowledgable, enthusiastic. . . . Fortey illuminates its flora and fauna, history and geology with indisputable expertise." --Financial Times

"This remarkable book, always precise, often lyrical, sometimes prickly [shows] just how much can be learned, how much gained by sinking deep into one particular place." --The Standard (UK)

"An eloquent, eccentric, and precise nature memoir." --Kirkus

Product Details
ISBN: 9781101875759
ISBN-10: 1101875755
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: December 6th, 2016
Pages: 320
Language: English