Here, published for the first time in the United States, is the last book by Roger Deakin, famed British nature writer and icon of the environmentalist movement. In Deakin's glorious meditation on wood, the ""fifth element"" -- as it exists in nature, in our culture, and in our souls -- the reader accompanies Deakin through the woods of Britain, Europe, Kazakhstan, and Australia in search of what lies behind man's profound and enduring connection with trees.
Deakin lives in forest shacks, goes ""coppicing"" in Suffolk, swims beneath the walnut trees of the Haut-Languedoc, and hunts bushplums with Aboriginal women in the outback. Along the way, he ferrets out the mysteries of woods, detailing the life stories of the timber beams composing his Elizabethan house and searching for the origin of the apple.
As the world's forests are whittled away, Deakin's sparkling prose evokes woodlands anarchic with life, rendering each tree as an individual, living being. At once a traveler's tale and a splendid work of natural history, Wildwood reveals, amid the world's marvelous diversity, that which is universal in human experience.
""...[Deakin is] a congenial traveling companion in an invigorating romp...His writing reflects that fresh and tentative spirit...contains nuggets of wood lore beyond its obvious uses for food, animal fodder and building material."" -- The Washington Post