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In 2014 the Somerset Levels suffered from the worst flooding in over twenty years. Inevitably the residents asked for more drainage, more dredging and more money. This timely new edition of the acclaimed classic brings the story up-to-date as we wait for the winter floods to return, offering a blueprint for solving flooding forever.
As a practical landscape architect working in the water industry, Jeremy Purseglove has been actively involved in building a wider brief for land drainage engineers so that they can enhance, rather than destroy, the heritage of our rivers and wetlands. Taming the Flood draws extensively on this experience, analysing many of the conflicting demands made on rivers and wetlands. Purseglove charts the conservation, agriculture and development, and outlines practical proposals for the protection and use of these sensitive ecological habitats.
Beautifully written and magnificently illustrated with line drawings and maps, Taming the Flood serves both as a celebration of the richness of the British countryside, and as a warning of the legacy of loss and destruction we could so easily leave to future generations.
Jeremy Purseglove was born in 1949 and spent his childhood in Singapore, Trinidad and Kent. He helped to pioneer a new approach to the way we manage our rivers, having worked as an environmentalist in the water industry for over a decade. Taming the Flood, first published in 1986, is based on his personal experience and on the research he did for a television series, which he also presented. In 1989 he left the water industry to join the engineering company Mott MacDonald. In this capacity he worked in the UK and throughout the world integrating civil engineering schemes with the environment. He lives in Cambridge.
"His original determination remains the driving force of this compelling book. Mr Purseglove's mission was to show why rivers really matter to England and how our wetlands are a vital part of the natural scene. His descriptions are wonderfully accurate, his writing captivating and his enthusiasm catching. On any level, it's a good read, but, as a call to action, it's outstanding [...] It is his love of the subject, his deep knowledge and poetic insight that wins us from the very first page."
– John Selwyn Gummer, Country Life magazine
"'Taming the Flood most deserves its status as a classic [...] for its evocation of place [...] the descriptions of wetlands are exquisitely written. This fine book calls for, and takes, a longer view."
– The Sunday Times
"Jeremy Purseglove has a gift that is increasingly rare in these days of scientific specialisation – of joining practical wisdom about working with nature and the land to an imaginative appreciation of their place in our history and culture."
– Richard Mabey
"A most authoritative book which appears at a very appropriate time. It will give rise to new attitudes in an extremely important aspect of conservation, and new hope to those who are fighting for a more enlightened approach to wetlands."
– Sir Peter Scott