In Search of One Last Song: Britain's Disappearing Birds and the People Trying to Save Them (Hardback)Patrick Galbraith (author)
- 10+ in stock
At once elegiac and impassioned, Galbraith's odyssey around the British Isles to catch a glimpse of birds threatened with extinction combines eloquent nature writing with revealing testimony from a wide array of people trying to save the birds in question.
Our wild places and wildlife are disappearing at a terrifying rate. This is a story about going in search of the people who are trying to save our birds, as well as confronting the enormity of what losing them would really mean.
In this beautiful and thought-provoking blend of nature and travel writing Patrick Galbraith sets off across Britain on a journey that may well be his last chance to see some of our disappearing birds. Along the way, from Orkney to West Wales, from the wildest places to post-industrial towns, he meets a fascinatingly eclectic group of people who in very different ways are on the front line of conservation, tirelessly doing everything they can to save ten species teetering dangerously close to extinction.
In Search of One Last Song mixes conservation, folklore, history, and art. Through talking to musicians, writers and poets, whose work is inspired by the birds he manages to see, such as the nightingale and the capercaillie, Galbraith creates a picture of the immense cultural void that would be left behind if these birds were gone.
Among those he meets, there are feelings of great frustration. There are reed cutters and coppicers whose ancient crafts have long sustained vital habitats for some of our rarest birds but whose voices often go unheard. There are ornithologists who think their warnings are being ignored, and there are gamekeepers and animal rights activists who both feel they are on the right side of an increasingly ugly battle. Ultimately, it emerges that many of the birds Galbraith encounters could thrive, but it would require much better cooperation between those who are caught up in the struggle for their future. It also becomes clear that while losing birds like the turtle dove and black grouse will result in a paler country for all of us, for some of those who live alongside them, it will mean the bitterly painful end of so much more.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 240 x 159 x 28 mm
'A vivid account of lives lived alongside our most iconic and endangered birds-and a glimpse of the cultural void they would leave behind. Galbraith has a poet's eye; his descriptions are crystalline, deeply affecting, while his encounters with others are direct, and occasionally ruffling-In Search of One Last Song brings to mind the writing of Bruce Chatwin, in the best of ways. A modern pastoral written with intelligence, wit and lyricism' - Cal Flyn, author of Islands of Abandonment
'This is an important and timely book that explores the human context of an ecological emergency. Galbraith is a thoughtful, assured and elegant writer who brings a mature intelligence and open-minded insight to his subject. From lapwings in post-industrial landscapes to the threatened birds and declining trades of the eastern reedbeds, Galbraith both tells the complex stories of our vanishing bird species and lifts up the voices of the people who will miss them most when they are gone' - Richard Smyth, author of The Woodcock
'A requiem for cherished birds; an overture to another threatened species, the rural people who know Nature's ways (but done without nostalgia, because Galbraith is young and an insider.) All this in a perfectly written travelogue... The best book on conservation and the countryside I have read in years' - John Lewis Stempel
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