308 pages, b/w illustrations
Much more than just another field guide or a natural history of butterflies. Rainbow Dust explores the ways in which butterflies delight and inspire us all, naturalists and non-naturalists alike. In this uniquely eloquent and deeply personal book, naturalist Peter Marren explores the special place that butterflies hold in our hearts, in our cultural lives and in our imagination and recalls his own lifetime's obsession with these ephemeral creatures. Rainbow Dust is a celebration of butterflies; one shot through with a sense of wonder but also of sorrow at what we are losing.
"Part social history, part memoir, part celebration of Britain's most beautiful and fascinating creatures; all woven together by the expert pen of Peter Marren, surely the most effortlessly erudite and readable of all our nature writers."
– Stephen Moss, author of A Bird in the Bush
"Rainbow Dust will transport you into the miraculous world of butterflies and the people who have worshipped them, from boys who flew butterflies like kites, to the eccentric who collected 2.25 million of them. Full of wonder, a wry wit and great stories, this is the butterfly effect in book form – showing how a few tiny insects have conjured up a great breeze in the human soul. I love it."
– Patrick Barkham, author of The Butterfly Isles
"A scholarly and captivating excursion into the history of natural history, further enlivened by vivid portraits of some of the butterfly enthusiasts of the past"
– Michael McCarthy, Independent
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Peter Marren is a wildlife writer, journalist and authority on invertebrate folklore and names. His books include The New Naturalists, which won the Society for the History of Natural History's Thackray Medal, Britain's Rare Flowers, which won the Botanical Society of the British Isles' Presidents' Award. He won a Leverhulme Research Fellowship for work on Bugs Britannica.