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Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden Paperback – May 17, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


If you've been labouring under the delusion that gardening is a staid suburban pastime, this is the book that will change your mind. Scotsman From Borneville to seed bomb: a lightness of touch and a sprinkling of plant puns make inspiring cultural gallop through an alternative history of green in the city. RIBA Journal A bravura account of the power of flowers ... a truly important book that fills a gap between the overt political action of immediate protest and the slow cultural protest, both ecological and environmental, that might bring about the deep structural change in society envisioned by many small steps that begin with the planting of a tree or the laying out of a park on wasteland. Times Educational Supplement A stimulating and enjoyable read. BBC Gardens Illustrated A lovely and evocative family story covering a cycle of one moon to the next. The finely stylised illustrations of Shirin Adl are a perfect match. School Librarian This is a highly original history of the harnessing of horticulture in counter-cultural political activism... As one might expect from the professor of cultural studies at Salford University, it is a determinedly Left-wing, peppered with political assumptions and class prejudice. But don't let that put you off. The meat of this book is compelling, and benefits greatly from the eye of someone from 'outside' the gardens world... Much food for thought here. Daily Telegraph This is an exciting and thought-provoking book that cajoles us to understand the context in which gardens are created... It's tone is always approachable and its organisation good. My copy is already sticky-noted, underlined, and dog-eared for future reference and mmore in-depth pursuit. Garden Design Journal Fascinating alternative history. Venue A challenging read exploring new ways of looking at gardening. Irish Garden Uncomfortable in places but hugely thought-provoking. Guardian A fascinating and erudite history that made me want to go and cultivate my garden. Independent on Sunday A fascinating exploration of the many ways in which gardening, land use, environmental conservation,, methods of cultivation etc are shot through with politics. Ham & High Parts of this book may make your blood boil. Good! Other parts will make you laugh or move you to tears. Historic Gardens Review Immensely interesting, thought provoking and stimulating. Garden

About the Author

George McKay is a leading British author on aspects of alternative culture through music, protest, lifestyle. He is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Salford. His books include Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties, DiY Culture: Party & Protest in Nineties Britain and Glastonbury: A Very English Fair. He is also co-editor of the academic journal Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest (Routledge), as well as a fairly frequent contributor to BBC radio. He has appeared on numerous television programmes, and written for publications such as the Guardian, Independent, and New Statesman. He lives in Lancaster.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711230307
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711230309
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,716,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

George McKay is a writer on alternative cultures, popular music/media and cultural politics. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1960 though mostly raised in Norfolk, England. He is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Salford, UK, where he is Director of the Communication, Cultural & Media Studies Research Centre (

George's website is at

Forthcoming books:
Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism & Rebellion in the Garden (2011)
Shakin' All Over: Popular Music and Disability (2012).

He has recently completed a book for the general reader about polemic landscapes--from peace gardens to community gardens, public parks as spaces of political protest to allotments--called Radical Gardening, which is published by Frances Lincoln in May 2011. This is supported by a grant from the Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural Trust.

He is currently on an Arts and Humanities Research Council-supported sabbatical writing an academic monograph to be called probably either Spasticus: Popular Music and Disability, or Shakin' All Over: Popular Music and Disability (contracted with University of Michigan Press).

Or contact him at:

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By Jane Smith on May 21, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent in all respects.
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