Adventures of a Young Naturalist
The Zoo Quest Expeditions
In 1954 a young David Attenborough accepted a commission to travel the world in search of rare and elusive animals to add to London Zoo's collection. Filming his expeditions for the BBC television series Zoo Quest, he stayed with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia and armadillos in Paraguay. On his return, he recorded his experiences in this memoir, illustrated with black and white photographs, and published here with an introduction he added in 2017. Slightly off-mint.
A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond
Stephen O’Shea overcomes his fear of heights to crest the high Alpine passes and explore the history of the ‘fearsome, gargantuan intrusion of stone inconveniently located not at the edge but square in the middle of Europe’. Travelling west to east, from Lake Geneva to Trieste, he tells the stories of the armies, Crusaders, pilgrims and traders who have crossed the mountains; how the Alps inspired the Romantics, mountaineers and engineers; and how its 1,599 peaks have divided Europe’s languages, cuisine, culture, religion and history.
Painters, Ploughmen and Places
This blend of history, nature writing and memoir examines how people have responded to the land from the 18th century to the present day, including the Romantic poets’ fascination with the Lake District, and the more practical considerations of the agricultural improvers. Anna Pavord celebrates the beauty of the British landscape, considers how it has affected and inspired its inhabitants, and explores the ways in which a sense of place can help to define cultural identity.
A History of the South Yorkshire Countryside
This collection of well-researched essays traces the different ways in which South Yorkshire’s landscapes – valleys and lowlands, Pennine moors and wooded hills – have been shaped by human activities. Complemented by historical maps and black and white photographs, the book considers a range of buildings and industries, from the oldest parish churches and timber-framed barns to large-scale canal construction and the impact of coal mining.
A Vision of Countryside
From high moorland to shingled coast, the nature blogger Jan Wiltshire explores the landscape and wildlife of her home county. Detailed photographs capture rugged fells and wind-blasted trees, rare orchids, redstarts and skylarks, a cuckoo on Scout Scar, and the scarce natterjack toad in the Duddon Estuary, while the accompanying text inspires us to engage with, value and preserve the natural world.
The Enlightenment's Natural Historian
An outstanding artist and natural historian, James Sowerby (1757–1822) was unusual in being his own researcher, writer, illustrator and publisher – and in being an artisan. This first full biography of Sowerby illuminates his contemporary world of natural scientists and is illustrated with his very fine engravings, including works from the great Flora Graeca; from Exotic Botany, which featured specimens sent from places as far-flung as Australia, Nepal and the Caribbean; and from books on fungi, fossils and minerals.
The Natural History of the Bible
A Guide for Bible Readers and Naturalists
The Bible abounds in references to plants and animals, from the fruit trees and snake in the Garden of Eden to Revelation’s visions of terrifying beasts. This guide to the flora and fauna of the Holy Land links these biblical references with the species that are still visible in today’s landscapes. It also shows how examples from nature were used figuratively in spiritual guidance aimed at an audience with everyday experience of the region’s wide range of habitats.
Walking the Himalayas
For six months, Wood and his guides trekked along the foothills of the Himalayas, through Afghanistan, Kashmir and Nepal. His account of the 1,700-mile journey explores the region’s history, politics and the lives of its people, including yak-herders, separatist fighters, Buddhist monks and blood-drinking shamans. Off-mint.
The Art of the First Fleet
Images of Nature
With no official naturalist travelling with the First Fleet, landscape artist turned convict, Thomas Watling, produced many of the watercolours and drawings in this collection. Depicting alien landscapes, flora and fauna and the undeveloped Sydney Cove, these images offer a detailed insight into the lifestyle of the indigenous population.
The Natural History of Selborne
Gilbert White (1720–1798) compiled this famous book from his letters to two other naturalists, a common way of writing scientific works at the time. What was so original and appealing about White’s natural history was its personal, even poetic approach, using all the senses to observe nature. The book has never been out of print since it first appeared in 1789; this attractive In Arcadia edition presents the original text with later woodcuts by Claire Oldham.
In 2009, walking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths beneath our feet. How do they form? Why do some improve over time, while others fade? What makes us follow, or strike out alone? Over the next seven years, Moor travelled the globe seeking answers to these questions, tracing human pathways from long-lost Cherokee trails to the internet. This wide-ranging and thought-provoking book explores 'how we make trails, and how trails make us'.
Penguins, Pineapples and Pangolins
First Encounters with the Exotic
Nowadays, with the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, it is hard to recapture the sense of wonder felt by explorers when they first encountered animals and plants, people and customs, stranger than anything they could imagine. Generously illustrated with contemporary prints and woodcuts, this captivating book draws on accounts from Roman times to the 19th century to convey the amazement felt by Europeans when they first saw giraffes and bananas, Mongolian yurts and the statues of Easter Island.
An Exploration of Natural History
The Natural History Museum holds a vast collection representing the development of the study of the natural world from the earliest times. This accessible introduction to the subject tells the story from the theories of the ancient world and the scientific revolution of the Renaissance to the very latest discoveries. The well-illustrated volume also includes contributions by leading figures in the field such as Richard Dawkins and geneticist Steve Jones.
Things That Are
Encounters with Plants, Stars and Animals
Amy Leach’s debut collection of creative non-fiction displays a remarkable fusion of enchanting poetic language, quirky humour and factual information relating to the natural world and our communion with it. From lilies and peas, frogs and beavers to the moon, constellations and exploding stars, each of these 26 short pieces is filled with what Olivia Laing has called a ‘tumultuous, incantatory rejoicing in the astonishing multiplicity of the Earth’.
The Natural Heritage of the World
The Most Beautiful National Parks, Protected Areas and Biosphere Reserves on Earth
The world’s wild places offer a refuge for endangered species, an information bank for scientists, and a priceless gift to the human spirit. Illustrated with colour photographs, this book explores all 229 areas of natural beauty on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, from Lapland’s Arctic wastes to the Amazon rainforests, from the Great Barrier Reef to the reserves of East Africa, and from the primeval beech forests of the Carpathians to the natural parks of North America.
Animals in Myth, Legend, and Literature
In this great survey of animals and their symbolism, Boria Sax has abandoned biological classification in favour of tradition, linking the animals not only to their natural habitat and habits, but also to human cultural values and practices. The resulting categories range from almost human (apes, monkeys, bears, beavers, porcupines and pigs), through tricksters, musicians, man’s best friends, beasts of burden and tough guys to divinities (owls, eagles, doves and, remarkably, the rhinoceros).
Secret Nature of Devon
Devon is a large county with a climate ranging from the subtropical to the subarctic across the diverse habitats of high moorland, woodland, pasture, estuary and seashore. This comprehensive introduction and identification guide to the nature and wildlife of Devon provides details of its bird, animal and plant life, and offers information about key wildlife locations and nature reserves in the county.
The English Meadow
A Portrait of Country Life
Modern farming almost eliminated meadows from our countryside but these ‘beautiful, therapeutic reservoirs of a unique eco-system’ are now gradually returning. Drawing on the author’s experience of creating and managing a flower meadow, this book surveys different meadow types and the tools, crafts, buildings and wildlife associated with them; it also shows how churchyards, rooftops and roadside verges are helping the resurgence of wild grasses and flowers. Appendices list notable English meadows, rural museums and conservation organizations. Slightly off-mint.
The Seventy Great Mysteries of the Natural World
From 'How did the Earth form?' to 'Human behaviour and saving the planet', the 70 chapters in this colourful survey of natural history draw on the expertise of more than 60 scientists to give concise, lucid explanations of concepts and phenomena as diverse as selfish-gene theory, the eye, asteroid and comet impacts and flu pandemics. The book is arranged in sections on origins, the Earth, evolution, biogeography and environments, plants and animals, animal behaviour and global warming and the future.
The tropical rainforests are the lifeblood of the planet, regulating the climate, producing oxygen and providing a home to over half of the world's known species. This large-format photographic portfolio celebrates the wonders of this unique environment in images ranging from close-up studies of plants and insects to portraits of mammals and aerial views. Many photographers are represented, while the text explores the rainforests' astounding biodiversity and emphasizes why they must be preserved.
Philip's Guide to Wetlands
The draining and development of wetlands, often seen as disease-ridden obstacles to progress, was a feature of the march of civilization from the Middle Ages; but in more recent times we have begun to appreciate their value to the environment and many areas are now protected. This guide describes the ecology of wetlands around the world, and examines their flora and fauna in detail with the help of maps, photographs and illustrations.
A Celebration of Scotland's Watershed
Marking the divide between water flowing west to the Atlantic or east to the North Sea, Scotland's watershed is a line that can be traced through the high points of the landscape for the whole length of the country. This book celebrates this spine of wild places, mixing photography with the writings of 19th century naturalist John Muir and commentaries describing the environments encountered, from the border hills to the tip of the Shetlands.
Although only about 12 miles in length, running between the village of Whitwell and Hertford, the Mimram is notable for being a chalk stream, characterized by clear, slightly alkaline waters, which enrich the surrounding land and provide a perfect environment for trout. This guide examines the history and natural environment of the river and the settlements and buildings along its course, which include a number of grand houses and parks.
A Secret Life of London's Waterways
Despite the islands of rubbish collecting in the River Lea as it flows through Walthamstow and Leyton Marshes, there is still abundant wildlife to observe in the wetland environment. This diary blends nature writing, social observation and memoir as the author makes her way through the waterways of London and out into the western suburbs over the course of a year, periodically settling for a few weeks to explore the locality.
The Dog that Survived the Titanic
and Other Amazing Animal Stories
Inspired by the incredible tale of Rigel, the Newfoundland dog that survived the Titanic disaster, this book is a celebration of animal antics. With over 500 stories including the cat that flew the world, the gorilla who learned sign language, the horse that drove a Cadillac and a dog arrested for skateboarding, this entertaining collection reveals the intelligence of our animal friends.