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A History of Trees (Hardback)

Photographic Books Colour Books Nature White Owl

By Dr Simon Wills
Imprint: White Owl
Pages: 203
ISBN: 9781526701596
Published: 12th December 2018



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Have you ever wondered how trees got their names? What did our ancestors think about trees, and how were they used in the past? This fascinating book will answer many of your questions, but also reveal interesting stories that are not widely known. For example, the nut from which tree was predicted to pay off the UK’s national debt? Or why is Europe’s most popular pear called the ‘conference’? Simon Wills tells the history of twenty-eight common trees in an engaging and entertaining way, and every chapter is illustrated with his photographs.

Find out why the London plane tree is so frequently planted in our cities, and how our forebears were in awe of the magical properties of hawthorn. Where is Britain’s largest conker tree? Which tree was believed to protect you against both lightning and witchcraft?

The use of bay tree leaves as a sign of victory by athletes in ancient Greece led to them being subsequently adopted by many others – from Roman emperors to the Royal Marines. But why were willow trees associated with Alexander Pope, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Samuel Johnson? Why did Queen Anne pay a large sum for a cutting from a walnut tree in Somerset? Discover the answers to these and many other intriguing tales within the pages of this highly engrossing book.

Article: 'Monkey puzzle isn't the only tree that leaves you baffled' as featured by

East Anglian Daily Times/Eastern Daily Press - words by Steve Russell

As featured in competition

Countryman, January 2019

Click here to listen to author interview at Kingley Vale Forest

BBC Radio Sussex with presenter Danny Pike, 24th January 2019

Article: 'Ancient Herefordshire trees feature in new book'

Hereford Times, 3rd January 2019 - words by Richard Prime

Click here to listen to author interview

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BBC Radio Devon with presenter David Fitzgerald, 29th January 2019

Article: 'Collection of fascinating facts about humble tree' as featured by

Western Morning News, 7th January 2019 – words by Keith Rossiter

⭐⭐⭐⭐ A good reference book.
I'm looking forward to rediscovering my love of trees and learning about the associated history.

Amazon Customer

Click here to listen to author interview

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BBC Radio Wiltshire with presenter Sue Kinnear, 9th January 2019

Click here to listen to author interview

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BBC Radio Berkshire with presenter Sarah Walker, 8th January 2019

Click here to listen to author interview

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BBC Radio Oxford with presenter Kat Orman, 8th January 2019

Books to look out for with a Yorkshire link

Yorkshire Post, 4th January 2019

I like learning about trees and nature. This book was really interesting for me and I loved learning more about the history of different trees.

NetGalley, reviewed by Catherine C

I think this is a wonderful book for a booklover, I can see that as a hardcover it will be wonderful book to peruse and flick through, however, I don't think I got the full benefit of that in the digital version. Still, definitely a book that will make a brilliant gift for any tree lover, lover of facts.

NetGalley, reviewed by Melanie Martin

This book is interesting and full of information about trees and their history.. It's well written and engaging.


NetGalley, reviewed by Anna Maria Giacomasso

While I did have a few quibbles with the book, finding some entries were much shorter than others, as well as too much focus on certain geographical areas, overall, I quite liked this title. It also deserves a special shout out for the dedication alone, it did make me smile.

NetGalley, reviewed by Kat Munro
Dr Simon Wills

About Dr Simon Wills

Dr Simon Wills is a maritime genealogist, researcher and author, who writes for many genealogy and history magazines including Who Do You Think You Are?, Family Tree, Discover Your History, and Your Family Tree. He has over 25 years' experience researching maritime history and also works part-time as an information adviser to the NHS and other healthcare organisations.

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