The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees
An exuberant tale of craftsmanship for nature lovers and rugged outdoor types everywhere
Robert Penn cut down an ash tree to see how many things could be made from it. After all, ash is the tree we have made the greatest and most varied use of over the course of human history. Journeying from Wales across Europe and Ireland to the USA, Robert finds that the ancient skills and knowledge of the properties of ash, developed over millennia making wheels and arrows, furniture and baseball bats, are far from dead. The book chronicles how the urge to understand and appreciate trees still runs through us all like grain through wood.
There is no greater debt than that which mankind owes to trees, and Robert Penn proves this brilliantly - a highly readable account of the multitude of uses one single ash tree can provide -- Lars Mytting, author of 'Norwegian Wood' Beautifully crafted, [The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees ranges] freely over intellectual territory - masculinity, nostalgia, identity . . . Fascinating . . . Never have the benefits of getting your chopper out appeared more obvious -- Robert Crampton, Books of the Year * The Times * The appeal of Robert Penn's enchanting narrative extends far beyond tree enthusiasts, woodworkers and fanatic loggers like me. It is a book-lover's feast. Penn's wonderful prose and compelling research put The Man who Made Things out of Trees right up there in the league with such classics as John McPhee's The Survival of the Bark Canoe -- Rinker Buck, New York Times bestselling author of 'The Oregon Trail' This book is bound for great things -- Sophie Morris * Independent * Penn is a fine writer, and the mix of research, reportage and personal reflection is persuasive . . . A lovely book -- Ed Cumming * Observer * [An] extended tribute to the beauty and usefulness of the ash tree... A homage to vanishing skills that were once integral to the functioning of rural Britain -- Tom Fort * Literary Review * A beautifully figured and multicolored ode to our love affair with the invaluable Ash tree. I swooned. Penn's paean to the many uses of the Ash is so well-wrought that I am compelled to take up hurling -- Nick Offerman There's a bit of a wood theme this year, in fact, with ... Robert Penn's The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees. One can't help but wonder if all these books encouraging self-reliance and back-to-nature are signs of impending apocalypse -- Ian Sansom, 'Books of the Year' * Guardian * A eulogy to the importance of ash throughout human history . . . Fascinating -- Tobias Jones * Guardian * I was completely smitten . . . [A] delightful, page-turning love letter to an often-overlooked material -- Grant Gibson * Craft Magazine * Often wry and always interesting . . . A passionate love letter to the ash tree -- Harry Wallop * Daily Telegraph * A delight to read . . . Penn's writing is poetic . . . [The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees] speaks to the quality of the human experience, of craftwork and making things by hand, of appreciating resourcefulness and natural beauty -- Nathalie Spencer * RSA * This book is a great pleasure to read . . . I defy anyone to read this and not want their own collection of natural and unique objects to connect our daily lives back to the natural woodland which once covered the country * Royal Geographical Society *
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