Natural history, perhaps more than any other pursuit or study, has always relied heavily on books. Without their basic function of enabling the different kinds of animals and plants to be described and illustrated in adequate detail, the subject could never have come into being and gone on to thrive as it does today. Though met with mixed responses from scientists and naturalists across the centuries, believing the world around them was to be purely 'known' and not read, books on natural history have also come to incite passion and excitement in so many of their readers, and illustrations as much as text have helped to propel this. To have the world around us neatly categorized and named has, to an extent, made it a less daunting place in which to live. In the latest book from the highly acclaimed New Naturalist series, Dr. David Allen explores the world of nature publishing through the course of history, from its very early days in the dawn of publishing, through various significant new discoveries and into the birth of the New Naturalist series itself, highlighting the extraordinary personal stories behind many seminal works.
Natural history is an area that is constantly developing and improving as our own understanding of the world develops, and as this fascinating book explores, publishing is always standing by to record and present this to its readers.
David Elliston Allen has had a specialist interest in the subject of this book for many years, the combined legacy of an undergraduate degree in anthropology, a period as an analyst of marketing surveys and co-authorship of two county Floras. A past President of the Botanical Society of the British Isles and of the Society for the History of Natural History, his books include 'The Naturalist in Britain: A Social History', first published in 1976. Allen has spent many years administering academic research grant programmes, particularly in aspects of history.