Author(s): Fiona Stafford
Since the beginnings of history trees have served humankind in countless useful ways, but our relationship with trees has many dimensions beyond mere practicality. Trees are so entwined with human experience that diverse species have inspired their own stories, myths, songs, poems, paintings, and spiritual meanings. Some have achieved status as religious, cultural, or national symbols. In this beautifully illustrated volume Fiona Stafford offers intimate, detailed explorations of seventeen common trees, from ash and apple to pine, oak, cypress, and willow. The author also pays homage to particular trees, such as the fabled Ankerwyke Yew under which Henry VIII courted Ann Boleyn, and the spectacular cherry trees of Washington, D.C. The author discusses practical uses of wood past and present, tree diseases and environmental threats, and trees' potential contributions toward slowing global climate change. Brimming with unusual topics and intriguing facts, this book celebrates trees and their long, long lives as our inspiring and beloved natural companions.
"Everywhere her eye for detail brings the trees to life... The Long, Long Life of Trees is elegant, engaging, impeccably written and packed with interest."-John Carey, Sunday Times -- John Carey Sunday Times "Fiona Stafford weaves together tales of their place in myth, painting, religion and literature, enlivened with her personal sense of wonder. This is a timely book; our trees face a growing threat from diseases that could leave gaps in our cultural landscape, as well as our woodlands and hedgerows."-Phil Gates, BBC Wildlife -- Phil Gates BBC Wildlife "It's impossible to imagine a better book on the subject than this. It's written with verve, pace, genuine wit and an inspired eye for the quirky fact or anecdote. Even those readers who don't think they're interested in trees will find that they are."- John Harding, Daily Mail -- John Harding Daily Mail "Fiona Stafford makes a welcome and entertaining contribution. She draws on material from fields including folklore, natural science, literature, cultural history, European art, ancient mythology and modern medicine to illuminate such trees central place in western civilisation."-Mark Cocker, Spectator -- Mark Cocker Spectator "To describe a book as enchanting is usually to condescend it. Not this time. Fiona Stafford's enchanting study is also stoutly built, plainly and stylishly written, admirably achieved as to both artistry and pedagogy, and as gripping as a good thriller, replete with plots and character."-Fred Inglis, THES -- Fred Inglis THES "In this paean to the arboreal impulse, Fiona Stafford gets under the bark of the terrestrial giants whose natural history is interlaced with our own."-Barbara Kier, Nature -- Barbara Kier Nature "The author's, ahem, root and branch treatment of trees is destined to be a definitive one... By a copy as holiday reading and your plane's descent over the Home Counties will offer you a chance to put your new-found knowledge into context."-James Anthony, Evening Standard -- James Anthony Evening Standard
Fiona Stafford is professor of English language and literature, University of Oxford. She is author and presenter of two highly acclaimed series for BBC Radio 3 titled The Meaning of Trees. She lives in Bucks, UK.