Remarkable Trees of the World

Remarkable Trees of the World

5.0 2
by Thomas Pakenham

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"A stunning volume" (Time) and the most magnificent book on the world's trees published in years.


"A stunning volume" (Time) and the most magnificent book on the world's trees published in years.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
Spectacular...the specimens photographed here are surpassingly bizarre and varied....[An] astonishing collection.— Janet Maslin
Discover magazine
Pakenham captures [the trees' character] expertly in his text and photographs....truly remarkable.— Maia Weinstock
The New York Review of Books
Pakenham captures [the trees' character] expertly in his text and photographs....truly remarkable.— Tim Flannery
The New Yorker
While walking in South Africa in 1829, the British missionary Robert Moffat came upon a giant fig tree so large that, according to his report, it housed seventeen huts in its branches. The historian Thomas Pakenham, in Remarkable Trees of the World, spent four years searching for such giants -- "trees with noble brows and strong personalities" -- and recording their mythologies. The baobab, native to Africa, Madagascar, and Australia, was of special interest to him; according to African legend, trees were gifts to animals from the Great Spirit, and the hyena, enraged to be given the baobab, speared it into the ground, leaving its tangled roots to become branches. American trees are equally impressive: one of California's ancient sequoias, the "Stratosphere Giant," stands taller than a thirty-story skyscraper.

In 1848, New York needed trees: they were considered the "lungs of the City," according to a new field guide published by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, New York City Trees, written and illustrated by Edward Sibley Barnard. The guide describes more than a hundred local species, and it also explains which park was razed by Civil War soldiers, why Orchard Street is so named, and where to find the city's little-known sassafras thickets.

The environmentalist Robert Marshall's The People's Forests first published in 1933, urges public ownership of forestland to guard against logging and other urban perils. On the other hand, Marshall acknowledges the persistence of nature. "The death of the forest and the death of man are not quite the same," he writes. "When a man dies it is the end."( Lauren Porcaro)
This book is a wonderful follow-up to Pakenham's first book, Meetings with Remarkable Trees, which captured the spirit of 60 remarkable trees in Ireland and Britain. For four years, Pakenham traveled the world beyond Ireland and Britain to photograph and learn the stories of 60 of his favorite trees, and his readers will feel like they have accompanied him to Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. This book is well and appropriately named, for not only are the 60 trees Pakenham describes and photographs remarkable, so is his writing style and attitude toward the trees. The book has been published with high-quality photography reproduction and paper. Unlike many so-called "coffee table books," this one will actually be read because the author's style is so engaging. KLIATT Codes: SA-Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002, Norton, 191p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 15 to adult.
— Nola Theiss
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Following Meetings with Remarkable Trees (Random, 1998), which features trees in Britain and Ireland, this book sets out to discover more such natural wonders elsewhere. In Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, he finds 60 commanding giants and dwarfs, Methuselahs, shrines, and "dream" trees of many kinds. Whether he is meeting baobabs, sequoias, or banyans, he finds magnificence, beauty, and, sometimes, sadness. He has a genius for communicating his sense of each tree as an individual being, engendering wonder, awe, and respect for it in readers. His thoughtful but brisk narratives bring his travels to life and readers feel that they are participants in an adventure as he experiences trees, their ecological and historical contexts, and the challenges of creating photographs of such difficult and special subjects. And Pakenham's color photographs are truly remarkable as he conveys the tactile aspect of bark, the sense of size or majesty, or the rare moment when the light is just right to capture the spirit of the tree. Chapters are further enhanced with historical illustrations (often, earlier views of the same trees) and snippets of poetry ranging from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Ogden Nash. Pakenham ends with a chapter on "Trees in Peril." This beautiful and unique book is sure to be appreciated by nature lovers. And though it is a highly personal work and not a scientific text, it demonstrates keen and accurate observation; it could also serve as an excellent supplement to studies in science, history, and geography.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Janet Maslin - New York Times
“Spectacular...the specimens photographed here are surpassingly bizarre and varied....[An] astonishing collection.”
Maia Weinstock - Discover magazine
“Pakenham captures [the trees' character] expertly in his text and photographs....truly remarkable.”
Tim Flannery - The New York Review of Books
“Pakenham captures [the trees' character] expertly in his text and photographs....truly remarkable.”
American Gardener
“Informative and inspiring.”

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 11.80(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Pakenham's Meetings with Remarkable Trees received international acclaim. His other books include Remarkable Trees of the World, The Boer War and The Scramble for Africa, which won the Alan Paton Award. He lives in London.

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Remarkable Trees of the World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When the Pharoah Khafre came to power in Ancient Egypt near 2575 BC, at least one of the Bristlecones of the White Mountains in California was near 20 years old...and it is still here. Trees do speak, perhaps not with words, but certainly through life itself. However, with the work of Thomas Pakenham, the Trees do speak again, yes, with words and phenomenal photography. Perhaps we will listen this time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There is not much to say except that this has got to be one of THE most beautiful books I have ever opened. Awe-inspiring. The book is fascinating, but the pictures take you there - right beneath the boughs of these mighty, strong, knarled and ancient inspirations. Sad, tho, that future generations will most likely only be able to see these wonderful trees in books.