Most of the authors whose books I report upon and review are not what anyone would call “controversial.” Oh perhaps within certain academic circles they may have disagreements with colleagues, but as far as the general reading public are concerned, they are models of intellectual sobriety. Of course, there are a few who are a bit more unconventional.
As Mark has been very busy covering a number of recent developments in British wildlife conservation this past week, the Sunday book review he normally publishes is this week more of a Tuesday book review. However he more than makes amends for being a couple days late by focusing this new column on the recent publication of the British Trust for Ornithology’s State of the UK’s Birds 2017 and a particularly handy volume published a decade ago with which to compare the finding of the BTO’s new report: A Climatic Atlas of European Breeding Birds.
In an age where so many elected and appointed office holders have, shall we say, less than a sufficient knowledge of the relevant subjects necessary for them to do their respective jobs well, it is difficult to imagine a time when not only were such positions held by people who were not merely competent, they were genuine polymaths, well-versed in matters spanning a range so as to make their modern counterparts seem veritable cartoon characters by comparison.
Libraries full of books have been, and could yet still be, written about the human and cultural devastation left behind following wars. Far fewer are available that take up the subject of the scars they leave upon the environment – and of these, only one, the just released “The Long Shadows; A Global Environmental History of the Second World War,” focuses exclusively on the global environmental effects of the largest war the world has yet seen.