Remarkable Trees of the World

by Thomas Pakenham

Hardcover, 2002



Call number

582.16 Pak

Call number

582.16 Pak

Local notes

582.16 Pak





W. W. Norton & Company (2002), Edition: 1st American ed, Hardcover, 192 pages


A landmark volume celebrating the most remarkable trees on our planet. The Spirit of nineteenth-century exploration lives in British historian Thomas Pakenham, who has spent the last decade investigating the lives of the world's most dramatic trees, many of which are in danger of destruction. After the worldwide success of his previous work, Meetings with Remarkable Trees -- a stunning collection of 60 individual trees (and groups of trees) in Britain and Ireland chosen for their unusually strong personalities -- Pakenham decided to hunt down and photograph another 60 remarkable trees scattered throughout the globe. Many of these trees were already famous -- champions by girth, height, volume, or age -- while others had never previously been caught by the camera. Pakenham's five-year odyssey, sweating it out with a 30-pound Linhof camera and tripod, took him to most of the temperate and many of the tropical regions of the world. Although North American trees dominate this book, Pakenham also trekked to remote regions in Mexico, all over Europe, parts of Asia including Japan, northern and southern Africa. Madagascar, Australia, and New Zealand. Despite his expert knowledge, the book owes little to conventional botany. Like its predecessor, Remarkable Trees of the World is arranged according to the characters of the trees themselves. There are Giants and Dwarfs, Methliselahs, Shrines, Dreams, Lovers and Dancers, Ghosts, and Trees in Peril. The chief Giant is General Sherman in the Sierra Nevada, California At over 1400 tons, the grizzled old general, a giant sequoia, is the world's largest tree, measured by volume -- indeed, the largest single living thing in the world. The height record, however, goes to another commanding Californian, a 368-foot high Coast redwood recently declared the tallest tree in the world. Among the Methuselahs, Pakenham describes the wind-blasted bristlecone pines of the White Mountains of California. One of them, Old Methuselah himself, was found to be 4,600 years old, making him the oldest tree yet measured by scientists. Shrines include some of the holiest trees in the world, like the immense camphor trees preserved in Shinto shrines in Japan and the 2,200-year-old Bo-tree in Sri Lanka, a cutting from the actual tree under which Buddha found enlightenment. Trees in Peril are the trees under attack by predatory loggers and impoverished farmers, including the exotic baobabs of Madagascar, now threatened by intensive farming, and the great spruce and Douglas fir and red cedars of Pacific North America in whose defense the conservationists have been fighting the loggers for decades. Remarkable Trees of the World is a magnificent new work that celebrates Pakenham's gifts as a writer and a photographer. It will be treasured for generations by all those who marvel at the wonders of nature.… (more)

Physical description

192 p.; 11.88 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member happyfox
I sat down one evening and picked up this book and its sister book and didn't stop until I had finished both books. I thought they were beautiful and awe inspiring! Magnificent!
LibraryThing member herschelian
The title says it all, this book is a song of praise, with fabulous photographs, of amazing trees on four continents. From giant redwoods to tiny bonsai and everything inbetween - trees that are endangered, trees that are lived in, trees that are worshipped. You can get lost in this book - perfect
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for the armchair traveller.
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LibraryThing member brikis98
A quick, pleasant read, wonderfully illustrated with large, lovely photos. Actually, the writing is largely secondary to the photos, but it does provide some context and a few interesting facts about the trees (e.g. strangler trees are fascinating). The book gives you an appreciation for trees: how
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long they can live (4000 years!), how huge and varied they can get (from a tiny bonsai to a 15,000 ton behemoth), and how beautiful they can be (Baobabs are amazing). They really are wondrous life forms.
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(62 ratings; 4.4)
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