The Making of the British Landscape by Nicholas Crane
Britain’s destiny has always been shaped “by the Sun and by Southerners”, said Andrea Wulf in The Guardian. In this “ambitious, magnificent” book, the explorer and geographer Nicholas Crane describes the pressures, both environmental and human, that have influenced Britain’s landscape over the past 12,000 years. He begins his story towards the end of the Ice Age, when temperatures rose, boars and deer arrived, and Britain – at this point still connected to the mainland of Europe – first attracted large groups of humans. Ever since, its character has been intricately bound up with climate, with periodic temperature shifts resulting in successive waves of immigration from the south.
“I hadn’t known geography could be this exciting,” said Clive Aslet in The Times. Crane’s eye is the “equivalent of those camera-equipped drones that swoop over beetling cliffs and skate along the sands”. Whether describing prehistoric stone circles or the 18th century Highland Clearances, this is “storytelling at its best”. This book is “dramatic, lyrical and even inspiring”, said James McConnachie in The Sunday Times – a “geographer’s love letter” to Britain.