Peter Scott was a remarkable man who led an extraordinary life. Writer, artist, broadcaster, conservationist, sportsman; in any one of his chosen fields he would have been remembered as someone who made a difference. That he excelled in all of these is perhaps the main reason why his life remains an inspiration to others more than thirty years after his death. To his chosen fields, Peter brought a restless energy, boundless enthusiasm, integrity and determination to succeed.
This new biography charts his life, from the young boy who grew up in the shadow of the tragic death of his famous father to the co-founder of the World Wildlife Fund and a major international figure in wildlife conservation. Along the way he became a passionate wildfowler, an internationally renowned artist, Olympic medal winner, wartime hero, British national glider champion and popular broadcaster who was heavily involved in the development of natural history programmes at the BBC. Peter Scott and the Birth of Modern Conservation draws in part upon previously unpublished letters and papers discovered in his home during preparations to open it to the public, and casts a new light on some of the events that helped change a passionate hunter of wild geese into the most fervent champion for their survival.
With the current crisis of global warming and the threat of mass extinction of wildlife across the globe, Peter's story is a vivid reminder of the challenges we face and of what we stand to lose.
Following a career in cartography and publishing, Chris Moore joined the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in 2014 as a volunteer at their headquarters in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire. In 2017, he joined the team that worked for two years to convert Sir Peter Scott’s former home into a museum. The contents of the house were catalogued, cleaned and, where necessary, conserved. Since the Scott House Museum opened in 2019 he has been one of a team of volunteers leading groups of visitors through the house, telling the story of Sir Peter Scott’s life and work.
"[...] The book is perfectly readable; Scott’s itinerary of expeditions and meetings and wildlife holidays are all set out, sometimes chronologically, sometimes thematically. What is lacking is psychological depth. Scott’s life was by any measure full of incident and achievement, but was he really so far ‘ahead of his time’? And was he really the ‘father of conservation’ as his biographers claim? [...] He does not seem to have been a complicated man. He was a do-er, not a thinker. All the same, I would have liked to have received some insight into what makes a man paint duck after duck, goose after goose, all his long life and in much the same style, without dropping dead from boredom. The impression you get, is that the younger Scott was always struggling to prove himself. He needed to win, needed to build. But whatever psychological impulse lay behind it all remains murky. This new biography would be the perfect reading for someone who, after visiting the new museum at Slimbridge, wanted to know more. But it is also an illustration of how one can seem to know all about a famous person without really knowing them."
– Peter Marren, British Wildlife 34(3), December 2022