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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Review - Nicholas Crane: The Making of the British Landscape

Nicholas Crane: The Making of the British Landscape
Nicholas Crane
The Making of the British Landscape (2*)

I was so much looking forward to reading this book by the popular television geographer, but I am sorry to say I did not get on very well with it at all. The author makes reference to an enormous number of locations, frequently comparing different parts of the country, yet much of the time he uses archaic or local place names that leave you wondering where they actually are. It might help if there were maps, but there are none, not even of Doggerland, the region now submerged under the North Sea which had so great an influence on the making of what we now know as Britain. On top of this, the prose is difficult to read, some would say turgid, largely in the past passive voice with long lists. The book could have been either lyrical and popular or thorough and academic, but in falling in between it is neither. He is no W. G. Hoskins.

Key to star ratings: 5* would read over and over again, 4* enjoyed it a lot and would recommend, 3* enjoyable/interesting, 2* didn't enjoy, 1* gave up.

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