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An Environmental History of Great Britain

Ian G Simmons

Hardback i (Printed to Order)

This is a history of the environment of England, Wales and Scotland, and of the interactions of people, place and nature since the last ice sheet withdrew some ten thousand years ago. It is concerned with the changing cultures (in the full anthropological sense) of the peoples inhabiting Britain as well as with the environment they transformed, exploited, abused and cherished. As the author points out, every culture in Britain has had to acknowledge its placement on a set of islands 50º N where any month of the year can be the wettest month of the year, where there are some long shallow estuaries and a few deep inlets, and where cereals do not reliably ripen 300 metres above sea-level. Cultural imagination cannot alter these realities, but it can variously view them as dangerous or picturesque, as economic or uneconomic. The book is a history of changing reflexivity in the interactions between people, culture, and nature.

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About the Author

Ian G Simmons retired in 2001 from his position as Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Durham. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and the author of many books including The Ecology of Natural Resources(Arnold 1973), Environmental History: An Introduction (Blackwell 1994), Changing the Face of the Earth (second edn, Blackwell 1996), and Humanity and Environment (Longman 1997). He received the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1998.


Accessible, entertaining, tremendously well exemplified throughout, and a very thorough overview of British environmental history … an idiosyncratic and magisterial overview of a complex and fascinating topic
- The Holocene
Both residents and vistors should find much of value in this informative text.
- K. B. Sterling, formerly Pace University, Choice
This is easily one of the more successful and authoritative books on the environmental history of the UK and arguably the most successful to date in bringing the human and environmental together with equal understanding. It is well written, imparts a real breadth to the problem and moves freely between the large-scale perspective and the case study or local illustration. For those who are teaching the environmental history of the UK, this will be a benchmark text.
- The Agricultural History Review
This is a worthy book full of rich detail, engaging with political philosophy very much on its own terms.
- Australian Journal of Political Science
This is an excellent book, magisterial in compass, insightful, readable and the footnoted asides are a delight. Students, academics and those unconnected with the world of formal education will find much to enjoy and to inform.
- Kevin Edwards, Professor of Physical Geography, University of Aberdeen
Notably reader-friendly … Fifty photos plus sixty tailor-made graphics make concepts lucid for non-specialists, and serve as concise summaries for professionals. Explanations of techniques and terminology offer keys which open doors for further reading … Professor Simmon's book is one many kinds of readers will appreciate … a book of such scale, so lively in style, inevitably stimulates arguments … Readers will certainly find both information and enjoyment as I did
- Scottish Geographical Journal

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