Archives for non-fiction

#BookReview ‘Underland’ by @RobGMacfarlane #nature #science #travel

Robert Macfarlane is a nature writer who gives you so much more – science, geology, landscape, history, folklore, myth, environment, oral history. Tempted by the amazing cover – a detail of ‘Nether’ by Stanley Donwood – I bought Underland and was hooked from the first sentence. ‘The way into the underland is through the riven trunk of an old ash tree’. Macfarlane goes underground – into the catacombs of Paris, remote Arctic sea caves, down moulins in Greenland glaciers, follows underground rivers through the Karst in Slovenia, ending in Finland where a tomb is being constructed to house nuclear waste – discovering stories about our ancestors and the world they lived in. A wide-ranging book, informative as well as interesting, Macfarlane writes with a feeling for language that locks into your emotions. As the chapters progress – each setting is underground, extreme and challenging – Macfarlane consults experts and explores inaccessible places. Juxtaposed with the examination of nature and science, he writes a travel story involving caving, mountaineering, exploration and survival skills. He writes of places the reader is unlikely ever to visit. Such as the calving face of the Knud Rasmussen glacier in Greenland, ‘Birds gather on the silt
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Categories: Book Love.

Book review: Seeking John Campbell

This book by John Daffurn is not fiction or a memoir. It is the true story of one man’s hunt for the family of a woman he doesn’t know, which encompasses genealogical research, foot slogging, dead ends and a lot of history. This story starts with the death of this unknown woman, Isabel Grieg, in 1995. She dies intestate. The author found her name on the Bona Vacantia list of estates without heirs. His initial research, prompted by genealogical curiosity, turned into an obsession. This book is the story of that obsession, his fascination with the Campbells and a historical account which ranges from the founding of Argentina, the establishment of a Scots colony in Argentina, through the Great War and World War Two to the present day. At times it is a very fact hungry book and I found myself re-reading some passages. This was not the book I expected, instead of an ‘Heir Hunter’ style detective story, albeit true, it is instead a well-written historical account of three men – each coincidentally called John Campbell – who may be the unknown father of Isabel Greig. In discovering the stories of these three men, the author tells the history
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Categories: Book Love and Family history research.