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The Running Hare

The Secret Life of Farmland
Narrated by: Bernard Hill
Length: 7 hrs and 35 mins
Categories: Non-fiction
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Sunday Times best seller. Winner of the Thwaites Wainwright Prize 2015. BBC Radio 4's 'Book of the Week'.

Traditional ploughland is disappearing. Seven cornfield flowers have become extinct in the last 20 years. Once abundant, the corn bunting and the lapwing are on the Red List. The corncrake is all but extinct in England. And the hare is running for its life.

Written in exquisite prose, The Running Hare tells the story of the wild animals and plants that live in and under our ploughland, from the labouring microbes to the patrolling kestrel above the corn, from the linnet pecking at seeds to the seven-spot ladybird that eats the aphids that eat the crop. It recalls an era before open-roofed factories and silent, empty fields, recording the ongoing destruction of the unique, fragile, glorious ploughland that exists just down the village lane.

But it is also the story of ploughland through the eyes of man who took on a field and husbanded it in a natural, traditional way, restoring its fertility and wildlife, bringing back the old farmland flowers and animals. John Lewis-Stempel demonstrates that it is still possible to create a place where the hare can rest safe.

©2016 John Lewis-Stempel (P)2017 Random House Audiobooks

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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for keren cornelius
  • keren cornelius
  • 20-03-2018

Beautiful

Joyful but heart braking. It has made me smile, dream and enquire but also cry. So much has been lost yet the wonder of nature is still wondrous.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • MR C.
  • 01-03-2018

Beautiful prosed work about country life as it should be

Excellent book on a year in the life of a field sown and managed old school. Details exactly how much flora and fauna Man has succeeded in losing to its detriment. This is how agriculture should be managed; with an eye on the creatures and flowers which call it their home. Man destroys everything in the quest for cheap food and a quick buck. Would that the countryside be husbanded in this manner. My only criticism is that there is no need for the odd ‘f’ word which spoils the otherwise delightful prose. It is superfluous and brings credence to the thought that to use such vocabulary, one has run out of a choice of words which for this author cannot be the case. Bernard Hills monotone voice excellent in delivery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Don E.
  • 28-12-2017

controversial

loved it. quite controversial but enjoyable
would thoroughly recommend if interested in wildlife or nature

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-12-2017

The countryside alive again

This visionary book gives hope to all of us who love the natural world. It is special because it is not a town dwellers unrealistic vision. It is the vision of a farmer and a countryman through and through.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • alex milway
  • 01-11-2017

Love John's books. Bernard Hill is great too.

Beautifully written and full of things I didn't know. Bernard Hill reads it much better than the Meadowland narrator. Wish he could do the rest of them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-10-2017

Brilliant .

Essential reading for everyone who cares about the environment. Beautifully written, informative and erudite. I loved the inclusion of poetry. Really well narrated.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Di
  • 30-08-2018

Educational and thought provoking.

A very thought provoking observation on our arable farming methods and how small changes can help our wildlife. Shocking to hear just how dead our highly productive farming leaves the land. I’m glad I live surrounded by sheep fields. I will never look at a crop growing again without thinking of how much damage we are doing to our wildlife.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 21-10-2017

Fragility and Resilience

Came to this after Radio 4's 'Book of the Week'. A grounding, thoroughly absorbing read/listen. Kept waiting for the next freshly turned phrase or insight. Narrator is hand-in-glove with the book. So pleased to have experienced it. Fragility and resilience sum the book/reading up for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James M.
  • 19-10-2017

Beautiful.

This has to be the most enjoyable book I have ever listened to and a wonderful insight into farming and connecting with the great outdoors.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-08-2019

the end is nigh, but some people did care

it's a joy to hear someone who loves nature share their passion and John does it best is all. he brings the outside inside... igniting candles of hope in his wake...