Woodston: The Biography of An English Farm - The Sunday Times Bestseller (Hardback)John Lewis-Stempel (author)
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The acclaimed author of Meadowland digs deep into the history of his family's farm in this lyrical, deftly constructed portrait of rural England through the centuries.
In the beginning was the earth...
From the Paleozoic volcanoes that stained its soil, to the Saxons who occupied it, to the Tudors who traded its wool, to the Land Girls of wartime, John Lewis-Stempel charts a sweeping, lyrical history of Woodston: the quintessential English farm.
With his combined skills of farmer and historian, Lewis-Stempel digs deep into written records, the memories of relatives, and the landscape itself to celebrate the farmland his family have been bound to for millennia. Through Woodston's life, we feel the joyful arrival of oxen ploughing; we see pigs rootling in the medieval apple orchard; and take in the sharp, drowsy fragrance of hops on Edwardian air. He draws upon his wealth of historical knowledge and his innate sense of place to create a passionate, fascinating biography of farming in England.
Woodston not only reminds us of the rural riches buried beneath our feet but of our shared roots that tie us to the land.
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 573 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 33 mm
Lewis-Stempel's greatest gift remains his prose, with all its vividness and energy. His aim in Woodston was to 'fashion a memorial in print' to his grandparents and 'all the yeomen farmers of England, past, present and future'.
The English countryside is 'a work of human art, done by the many and the nameless' and he wanted to celebrate it. He has succeeded admirably
Lewis-Stempel is one of our finest nature writers ... He writes with delicate observation and authority, giving us in Woodston a book teeming with fascinating details, anecdotes and penetrating insights into the real cost of our denatured countryside. -- Christopher Hart * Sunday Times *
One of Britain's finest nature writers...Lewis-Stempel maps an intriguing journey through his ancestral farmland. * Radio Times *
Hardback Book of the Month: John Lewis-Stempel has ... an eye for vivid detail who creates evocative images as he shares his knowledge and love of the countryside. * CHOICE magazine *
From a master of storytelling... Other writers have written about the history of agriculture ... but this writer is the master, because his book is not just a scholarly treatise. It is about the history of agriculture, yes, but it is a personal account, written with a great love of the subject. It is the 'biography' of a farm and the English landscape, written through the eyes of a man who is a true wordsmith, knowledgeable on his subject and lover of the natural world. It is these enthusiasms which make it so readable ... [Lewis-Stempel is] a writer who is without equal in his field. -- David Hill * Western Morning News *
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“Woodston the biography of an English farm”
Fascinating and wonderfully written. He says things that just stay with you, e.g. "The best days have dogs in them, everyday should be a dog day".
“Woolston, the biography of an English farm”
This is a book to be savoured. I love the way that it traces the history of the patch of land that this farm stands on right from the beginning of time. We are taken on this journey through time in an informed,... More
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