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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

#BookReview #20BooksOfSummer The Glorious Life of the Oak by John Lewis-Stempel


Book 7 of my 20 BOOKS OF SUMMER challenge has been a nice easy one from my list! At just 87 pages long (or should that be short?!) it was nice to be able to learn so much in such a short space of time!


ABOUT THE BOOK

'The oak is the wooden tie between heaven and earth. It is the lynch pin of the British landscape.' 

The oak is our most beloved and most common tree. It has roots that stretch back to all the old European cultures but Britain has more ancient oaks than all the other European countries put together. More than half the ancient oaks in the world are in Britain.

Many of our ancestors - the Angles, the Saxons, the Norse - came to the British Isles in longships made of oak. For centuries the oak touched every part of a Briton's life - from cradle to coffin It was oak that made the 'wooden walls' of Nelson's navy, and the navy that allowed Britain to rule the world. Even in the digital Apple age, the real oak has resonance - the word speaks of fortitude, antiquity, pastoralism.

The Glorious Life of the Oak explores our long relationship with this iconic tree; it considers the life-cycle of the oak, the flora and fauna that depend on the oak, the oak as medicine, food and drink, where Britain's mightiest oaks can be found, and it tells of oak stories from folklore, myth and legend.



PUBLISHED BY DoubleDay


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £6.53

hive.co.uk  £6.89

whsmith  £6.47



MY REVIEW



A glorious little book - only 87 pages long! - about the glorious Oak and it captures the essence of what makes this tree so special, especially to the people of Britain, a country that has more Ancient Oaks than all of Europe put together!

The author has done a wonderful job in cramming so much information into such a quick read, and says it was only seeing an Oak nearby at night that made him realise what a special tree it actually was. 

In this 'ode to oaks' he manages to sum up the wide impact that this tree has had on so much of our lives - uses in history in buildings and boats, the links to royalty and politics, and even down to the humble world of pub names! - I learnt so much from each page and it was nicely set out alongside some poetry as well with links to the oak.

It also touches on the lifecycle of the tree and the threats it faces due to disease, how it plays such a vital role in wildlife, the changes of each season and even mentions of folklore and medicine. There's even recipes for Acorn Coffee and Oak Leaf Wine if you fancy giving those a go! I also enjoyed the list of places toward the back where you can go and see some might Oaks and I just found this potted history of the Oak to be a lovely and informative read.


★★★★★

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