My next book
I am pleased to confirm details of my forthcoming book, to be launched in the autumn
I have again teamed up with the brilliant wildlife artist Richard Allen for my next book Framing Nature: conservation and culture. Over the next few weeks, as Richard creates a new linocut to head up each of twelve chapters, I’ll reveal more of the content and plans for publication.
I first starting compiling notes for the new book in July 2017, during a visit to South Ronaldsay, Orkney. There is a Neolithic tomb there that once contained the remains of 340 people and, buried carefully among them, at least 14 white-tailed eagles. I realised that this was evidence of a deep connection between the past human inhabitants and these magnificent birds, and started to write what was to be the first chapter as soon as I returned.
That relationship seems to have lasted for perhaps 120 human generations and been by no means confined to remote pagan societies. Yet still the species was exterminated by the deliberate efforts of later generations who laboured at the task for as long as 800 years. It was a goal that was eventually codified in the laws of Elizabeth I and finally achieved with the shooting of the last eagle in 1918 amid objections and laments that came too late. Later in the 20th century a second 180-degree turn in society’s attitude to eagles provided a platform for their reintroduction, one of the great success stories of our time.
This and another eight essays, each devoted to a single species, enable me to tell the story of conservation from a cultural perspective. A further three essays challenge what we now know will be a post-Covid-19 society to embrace the cultural change needed to do what Richard Mabey called for forty years ago when he wrote, in The Common Ground:
Richard Mabey, The Common Ground 1980
To renew the living fabric of the land so that it also replenishes the spirits of its human inhabitants seems to me as close as one can come to a single expression of the aims of a total conservation policy.
Framing Nature: conservation and culture by Laurence Rose will be published in the autumn. Pre-publication offer details will appear here later in the summer. For review copies, trade and general enquiries, please get in touch here.