I recommend anyone prone to despair to read Wilding – for Isabella Tree’s apparently quixotic tale of Exmoor ponies, longhorn cattle, red deer and Tamworth pigs roaming free on an aristocratic estate is a hugely important addition to the literature of what can be done to restore soil and soul ... Tree writes with grace about a legion of doubts, obstructions and delays. And there’s welcome detail ... The book contains moments of lyricism and revelation.
By bringing human emotionality to the forefront, Wilding shines a probing light on our relationship with the outdoors ... At its finest, Wilding probes our complex relationship with nature, challenging our desire to intervene on its behalf. Rewiring our feelings regarding the outdoors, the author suggests, is a chance to renew our connection to the land ... Ironically, where the book sometimes stumbles is in its too-earnest attempts to justify its emotionality. Hyperaware of our dysfunctional love affair with nature, Wilding frequently dives too deep into the couple’s decisions, supplying no shortage of historical esoterica, scientific backstory and personal exposition, leaving the reader feeling sidetracked from the main story arc. Wilding is a worthy read, especially for those already convinced that they are nature lovers at heart.
... lighter on the personal memoir side and heavier on the ecological arguments than it might be. Indeed the statistics form wild thickets of their own. Nevertheless, this is an excellent primer, and anyone who is interested in how we share the planet — what it looks like, what we eat, and what nature can teach us — should read this book.
The author writes without fear of binomials and with long asides into hard science and deep descriptions of things like soil types and the characteristics of heritage pig species, and fans of Roger Deakin, Robert Macfarlane, Nan Shepherd, and other British naturalists will follow right along ... A fine work of environmental literature that demands a tolerance for detail and should inspire others to follow suit.