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White Beech: The Rainforest Years Hardcover – July 15, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (July 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162040611X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1620406113
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Greer (The Female Eunuch, 1970; Shakespeare’s Wife, 2008) is known far and wide as a seminal feminist, so many readers will be surprised to learn that for the past dozen years she’s been restoring a damaged rain forest in her native Australia. Greer had no idea what she was in for when she purchased 150 acres of “steep rocky country” in Queensland, land now designated as the Cave Creek Rainforest Rehabilitation Scheme. Greer chronicles the forest’s intricate biodiversity and her eco-adventures with passion, wit, literary artistry, and scientific precision. With guidance from her flinty sister, Jane, “a proper botanist,” Greer revels in a dazzling array of insects, frogs, pythons, “galaxies of rare plants,” spectacular birds, and magnificent trees, including the white beech, which was nearly logged into extinction. Greer pointedly alternates between scathing historical accounts of “two centuries of misguided exploitation” and bemused descriptions of her nursing “baby beeches” and battling invasive species. Greer delineates both the enormous difficulties involved in restoring a rain forest and the profound rewards. Pair this with Edward O. Wilson’s A Window on Eternity (2014). --Donna Seaman

Review

"Greer's brilliant analysis . . . is mischievous, restless, wide-ranging, unpredictable." —Katie Roiphe, New York Times Book Review

"Intelligent, funny, beautifully written." —Vogue, on The Female Eunuch

"Greer offers a richly textured account of the lives of ordinary women . . . She meticulously traces the members of the Shakespeare and Hathaway families . . . She reminds us of facts other critics have ignored." —Marilyn French, Publishers Weekly, on Shakespeare's Wife


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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jim Friend on November 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
When Germaine Greer arrived at Sydney University to take up an appointment in the Department of English, I was graduating to a respectable profession and conventional life style. Although we had friends and acquaintances in common, we did not meet. This was perhaps just as well - callow youth that I was, she would have scared the pants on to me. Her dramatic and distinguished career is well known. She has a string of books to her credit, mostly in one way or another affirming the feminist cause.

"White Beech" is different in theme, though not without feminist polemic here and there. Moved by man's degradation of the environment and determined to do something about it Greer sought an Australian rural property that she could rehabilitate. Over a decade ago, she acquired Cave Creek, in the hinterland of South East Queensland, devoting money and time to her project. She has now capped her generosity by transferring the title to an English charitable trust, the Friends of Gondwana Rainforest, with a view to soon transferring it to a similar Australian charity. This book describes the story.

I wondered if I might find myself reading something like the account of the restoration of a medieval French cottage ("The Normandy House" by Patricia M Page), which I reviewed for Amazon. Patsy Page, who is a friend since University days, there charmingly describes the progress of the work and her interactions with workers and neighbours, and members of her family.

Greer tackles things differently, documenting not only the flora and fauna of Cave Creek, but the settlement of the region and the attempts of settlers to raise dairy cattle, or bananas, or sugar, and eventually the indigenous macadamia nut.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By rosie may on November 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having never read any of Germaine Greer's books before I was truly amazed at her passionate story . The story of White Beech is historically enthralling ( the research is impeccable). The story is spiced with lots of local politics (does life ever change!! ), charged with a stark environmental reality message (I couldn't believe that one of the chemicals of agent orange was sprayed on our forest floor) and filled with lots of confronting true stories (one story quoted "destruction of the forest was the best entertainment going") Even though the story is very specific to the Numinbah Valley and South East Queensland ( with interesting connections to lots of other regions ) I urge all to read it as it challenges our attitudes past and present to all the ecosystems that we have destroyed and are trying to rebuild. My main criticism of the book was that the scientific jargon was overwhelming ( okay if you are a botanist) but it really interrupted the flow of the story and made many chapters very hard going
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. K. Rowbotham on August 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book was gift from someone who knows I love New South Wales and Queensland (as a visitor). I was looking forward to learning how part of the rainforest was being returned to something like its natural flora and fauna. What a disappointment! The narrative is disjointed - there is no 'story'. It reads more like the notes for a thesis. Long sections on the history of settlers and of the byzantine intricacies of plant naming and land ownership destroy any sense of what must have been a carefully sequenced restoration and make some chapters, as another reviewer has said, practically unreadable.
Ms Greer is a greatly respected writer, so she clearly intended the book to be the way it is, but I just wonder who she was writing for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MPMP on August 30, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This book documents a great achievement by Ms Greer, but had it been any dryer, it would have spontaneously combusted. The documentation is impeccable and quite suited to a botany thesis. I barely made it through the 2nd chapter, then skimmed through to the end, looking for the voice of Germaine Greer. It was lost in the duff.
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