340 pages, B/w photos
The Wild Places is both an intellectual and physical journey, and Macfarlane travels in time as well as space. Guided by monks, questers, scientists, philosophers, poets and artists, both living and dead, he explores our changing ideas of the wild. From the cliffs of Cape Wrath, to the holloways of Dorset, the storm-beaches of Norfolk, the salt marshes and estuaries of Essex, and the moors of Rannoch and the Pennines, his journeys become the conductors of people and cultures, past and present, who have had intense relationships with these places. Certain birds, animals, trees and objects - snow hares, falcons, beeches, crows, suns, white stones - recur, and as it progresses this densely patterned book begins to bind tighter and tighter.
At once a wonder voyage, an adventure story, an exercise in visionary cartography, and a work of natural history, it is written in a style and a form as unusual as the places with which it is concerned. It also tells the story of a friendship, and of a loss. It mixes history, memory and landscape in a strange and beautiful evocation of wilderness and its vital importance.
Bill McKibben (Author of THE END OF NATURE) "This book is an eloquent (and compulsively readable) reminder that, though we're laying waste the world, nature still holds sway over much of the earth's surface, even in a place as crowded and civilized as Britain. I found it one of the most oddly comforting books I've read in a long long time" Iain Sinclair "A driven and necessary account of the wild places of these islands, near or remote, as they can be located and possessed within ourselves: in good heart, in hungry intelligence. Rich, sinewy prose to set on the shelf alongside works by Roger Deakin, Richard Mabey, Tim Robinson" Rebecca Solnit "Robert Macfarlane's extraordinary first book took a stance against the conventionally heroic; his second as boldly celebrates places that aren't supposed to exist. And The Wild Places does so in prose that is at times very nearly as vivid and beautiful as the thing itself: in his sentences there are sudden clearings, shafts of light, unexpected crossroads of ideas, views opening into the distance, close-ups of important flora and fauna. The book strides along through places, histories and ideas with a distance-walker's gait and a nature lover's pauses" Jan Morris "A lovely book by a sublimely civilized writer - honest nourishment for the mind and true enhancement for the spirit" Will Self "A beautifully modulated call from the wild, that will ensorcell any urban prisoner wishing to break free"
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Robert Macfarlane's Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination (2003), won the Guardian First Book Award, The Somerset Maugham Award, and The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and was filmed by the BBC. It was also short-listed for the Ondaatje Prize for the Literature of Place, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Boardman-Tasker Prize for Mountaineering Literature, the Banff Mountain Literature Award, and long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. It was acclaimed as 'one of the two most important books written around the experience of mountains in the past fifty years'. Robert Macfarlane is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He lives in Cambridge with his family.