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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Man Who Made Things out of Trees.

Robert Penn cut down an ash tree to see how many things could be made from it. After all, ash is the tree we have made the greatest and most varied use of over the course of human history. Journeying from Wales across Europe and Ireland to the USA, Robert finds that the ancient skills and knowledge of the properties of ash, developed over millennia making wheels and arrows, furniture and baseball bats, are far from dead.

The book chronicles how the urge to understand and appreciate trees still runs through us all like grain through wood.

©2015 Robert Penn (P)2015 Penguin Books Limited

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Terribly innacurate title, but...

well worth the read. Great performance by the writer himself. I learned a lot and enjoyed the offshoots into esoteric topics.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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worth listening to if you're into trees

A good listen for Woodworkers and tree people and a nice homage to ash trees.

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  • Boggy of Bucks
  • 05-05-16

Engaging and intimate

Penn has important environmental things to say and does so engagingly and relevantly. He is deeply connected to trees and woodland on a very emotional level and his enthusiasm comes through in this telling of the post mortem uses of one particular tree. His tree now lives on in the artefacts and uses made of its flesh and we all learn to appreciate and value it, and by extension all timber, through this tale.

I listened to this book while engaged in my own amateur fiddling with my own woodland and if you can do so I heartily recommend you listen surrounded by trees.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon H
  • 10-06-17

Outstanding !

Robert Penn has written an easily consumable and fascinating love letter to an ash tree he took from his local woods and the products that he produced from it.

The author's narration brings the book alive and adds to the listener's enjoyment and experience of what is an unusual and imaginative approach to the subject of the natural world .

He weaves aspects of history, biology of trees together with our human experience making the whole book calming and almost as meditative as sitting in a wood and experiencing nature first hand.

I loved it!

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  • Mr
  • 06-26-17

Thoroughly engaging

A great book, if you're interested in not only the process but historical narrative of woodland management and production. A lovely example of nature writing

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  • Kieron Matthews
  • 10-18-16

Ash, Ash and more Ash, but I'm left hanging.

Loved this book, I loved it. I'm a busy bee, so bought the audible version having heard Robert talk at The Good Life Experience. I asked Robert the ridiculous question, "Humans have a phenomenal history of cocking up the planet and in today's age was there really any hope of us reverting to using ash and sustainable products ever again?" His answer left me with hope as does this book. His writing is very visual and tactile. You can smell and touch what he writes; always enhanced by his distinctive voice that bats you from moments of empathy, to familiarity to envy of him standing in a shavings filled workshop. I suspect that this book cannot fail but talk to everyone who remembers sitting in a wood as a child and running away with their imagination. However, I am left wondering how many times the book uses the word ash or what that desk looks like in the flesh.

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  • Matt
  • 09-26-16

Wonderful!

A perfect demonstration of effortless mindfulness. A thoroughly enjoyable, informative and, surprisingly, relaxing read. Some parts are almost as if listening to a guided meditation; I will be listening again!