The Moor: Lives Landscape Literature by William Atkins gives us the story of the moors – from Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and Exmoor in the southwest up to the Scottish border, via Yorkshire and Northumberland – and how they have shaped our people, culture and industry.
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Shortlisted for the 2015 Wainwright Prize
In this journey across England’s most forbidding and mysterious terrain, William Atkins takes the reader from south to north, exploring moorland’s uniquely captivating position in our history, literature and psyche. Atkins’ journey is full of encounters, busy with the voices of the moors, past and present. He shows us that, while the fierce terrains we associate with Wuthering Heights and The Hound of the Baskervilles are very human landscapes, the moors remain daunting and defiant, standing steadfast against the passage of time.
An ambitious mix of history, topography, literary criticism and nature writing, in the tradition of WG Sebald, Robert MacFarlane and Olivia Laing . . . One of the strengths of Atkins's book is its resistance to the obvious.
It is [Atkins'] ability to cheat expectation that gives him impact as a writer . . . [a] remarkable book.
A book that will grip and then send you out, in boots and waterproofs, to see for yourself the expansive seas of brown, green and purple it so vividly describes.
Exquisite, visceral, and perpetually surprising ... An extraordinary new portrait of these mythic blasted heaths.
In William Atkins the moors have found their voice. Beautifully and darkly, with great learning and exquisite observation, the odd wet backbone of England from Cornwall to the Borders is made new. Never have these apparently empty places been revealed as so operative on our national psyche. His is a marvellously saturated book.
The non-fiction book of the year: an astonishing, beautiful and remarkable work of muddy brilliance.
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