Roland Ennos' The Wood Age is a love-letter to the world's most vital and yet most threatened material. It is the story of how wood has shaped our human experience from the earliest foragers to the modern four poster bed.
In a journey to appreciate how much wood matters – and has done since prehistory – Roland Ennos takes the reader chronologically through four key phases: the impact of wooded habits on the lives of primates; human emergence and the discoveries of fire and woodwork; wood's role in an environment both pre- and post-industrialisation; and lastly, the possible future of wood in an increasingly technologized world.
In an original and essential investigation, The Wood Age challenges the traditional model of historical development – stone, bronze, iron – and instead guide readers through a revealing and innovative wooded history of the world.
Roland Ennos is a visiting professor of biological sciences at the University of Hull. He is the author of successful textbooks on plants, biomechanics and statistics, while his popular book Trees, which is published by the Natural History Museum, is now in its second edition in both the UK and US. He is an enthusiast for natural history, archaeology and early music, and lives with his partner and several hundred ferns near Hull, in East Yorkshire, England.
"A stunning book on the incalculable debt humanity owes to wood [...] Roland Ennos's knowledge of all things arboreal is vast and intricate. He is a professor of biology at the University of Hull and the author of several books, among them the Natural History Museum's official guide to trees. But The Wood Age is something different – nothing less than a complete reinterpretation of human history and prehistory, and it is written with enormous verve and pinpoint clarity [...] No review can match the richness of Ennos's book. There are chapters or sections on coal and charcoal, pottery kilns, modern wooden buildings, techniques of melting and smelting metals, the history of shipbuilding, wind and watermills, deforestation and much else [...] I felt like cheering."
– John Carey, The Sunday Times