The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us (Paperback)Nick Hayes (author)
Investigating the vast swathes of land currently forbidden to the general public, Hayes's passionately argued book is both a call to trespass and a wholesale re-evaluation of ownership and privilege.
Shortlisted for the ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction 2021.
The vast majority of our country is entirely unknown to us because we are banned from setting foot on it. By law of trespass, we are excluded from 92 per cent of the land and 97 per cent of its waterways, blocked by walls whose legitimacy is rarely questioned. But behind them lies a story of enclosure, exploitation and dispossession of public rights whose effects last to this day.
The Book of Trespass takes us on a journey over the walls of England, into the thousands of square miles of rivers, woodland, lakes and meadows that are blocked from public access. By trespassing the land of the media magnates, Lords, politicians and private corporations that own England, Nick Hayes argues that the root of social inequality is the uneven distribution of land.
Weaving together the stories of poachers, vagabonds, gypsies, witches, hippies, ravers, ramblers, migrants and protestors, and charting acts of civil disobedience that challenge orthodox power at its heart, The Book of Trespass will transform the way you see the land.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 464
Weight: 376 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
What a brilliant, passionate and political book this is, by a young writer-walker-activist who is also a dazzlingly gifted artist. It tells - through story, exploration, evocation - the history of trespass (and therefore of freedom) in Britain and beyond, while also making a powerful case for future change. It is bold and brave, as well as beautiful; Hayes's voice is warm, funny, smart and inspiring. The Book of Trespass will make you see landscapes differently - Robert Macfarlane
Seeks to challenge and expose the mesmerising power that landownership exerts on this country, and to show how we can challenge its presumptions . . . The Book of Trespass is massively researched but lightly delivered, a remarkable and truly radical work, loaded with resonant truths and stunningly illustrated by the author - George Monbiot, Guardian
A powerful new narrative about the vexed issue of land rights . . . Hayes [is] practically a professional trespasser these days, no sign too forbidding to be ignored, no fence too high to be climed . . . The Book of Trespass is [Hayes’s] first non-graphic book – though the text is punctuated by his marvellous illustations, linocuts that bring to mind the Erics, Gill and Ravilious – and in it, he weaves several centuries of English history together with the stories of gypsies, witches, ramblers, migrants and campaigners, as well as his own adventures. Its sweep is vast - Observer
Brilliantly argued, The Book of Trespass explores with clarity and courage an ancient problem in radically new ways . . . Hayes unearths the psychological preconditions that empower and legitimise these monumental inequalities - Mark Cocker, New Statesman
Exhilarating . . . A gorgeously written, deeply researched and merrily provocative tour of English landscape, history and culture - Boyd Tonkin, Arts Desk
Hayes is an alert, inquisitive observer . . . He works also in the tradition of nature writers like Robert Macfarlane … This sensibility gives him a poetic sense of the different ways that we might use and share the land to the benefit of all . . . Beyond its demand for specific, concrete changes to the law on what land we may step onto and for what purposes, this book is a call for a re-enchantment of the culture of nature - Tribune Magazine
Hayes is practised at pushing through overgrown thickets of law to uncover hidden structures of power and privilege. His book’s historical range stretches across centuries . . . The Book of Trespass is incisive, impassioned and beautifully written - Times Literary Supplement
A trespasser’s radical manifesto . . . A book dedicated to demolishing boundaries of all kinds . . . Each chapter includes a double-page black-and-white landscape, rendered with a thrilling air of motion and immediacy . . . Hayes has picked apart the meaning of “trespass” and brilliantly redefined it as an act of solidarity - Guardian
A stirring appeal for us to freely access the land closed off to the public . . . By trespassing on the land, Hayes takes us on a roller-coaster ride through history . . . His book is an example of nature writing at its best but it has real political bite … [A book] to relish and learn from - Morning Star
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“This land is their land, but perhaps for not that much longer.”
This land is their land.....for now. Nick Hayeovides a timely overview of how we have all been robbed of that which once belonged to nobody, and therefore belonged to everybody. Detailing all the areas in which,... More
“Trespass is an exciting and timely book imbued with a rebellious spirit and natural logic.”
Nick Hayes is well-informed and refreshingly unromantic in his awareness of the condition of our freedoms, or lack of within the land. Pitched not just to further the rights of human passage but deeply acknowledging... More
“An important book and a fascinating insight.”
An important book and a fascinating insight. Highlighting the links between land, powerful people and political interests, the history of distribution of land is explained thoroughly and in an interesting way. The... More
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