Book review – Back to Nature by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin

This is a very good book – and although Chris Packham is a mate of mine, that isn’t why I think it is a very good book. It’s a book about conservation issues now, and it needs to be read widely.

But this isn’t a book solely by Chris, it is co-authored with Megan McCubbin – so how does that work? I’m sure, because both of the authors are like this, that every word was thought about by both of them but the way the dual authorship works on the pages is that most (75%?) of the book is in the first person singular and by Chris but those passages are punctuated by significant chunks of text, roughly a page or two at a time, from Megan with facts and figures and explanation about issues. It’s a model that works well. And the reader has reason to be grateful for the change of pace and style as Chris takes us along at a fast pace and covers a lot of ground quickly. Uninterrupted Chris would be quite a challenge to read and so the change of pace is very welcome.

Don’t get me wrong, this is Chris at his best but the rest of the world, including me, finds it difficult to keep up with him at times. In these passages you can hear his voice and see the slightly pained expression on his face when he talks about what is wrong with our relationship with the natural world. And he deals with a wide range of issues from HS2 to raptor persecution and from pesticides to statutory agencies. It’s right up to date.

Whereas Chris’s 2016 book, Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, was a look back at his childhood (mostly) and was a very personal book, painfully but bravely so at times, this book is very much a more issues-based campaigning book about what is wrong with the world. It is a measure of the creativity of the man that he can produce two such very different books, both wonderful, both with the natural world at their core.

If you are already a fan of Chris’s and/or Megan’s then you will love this book. If you don’t find them to your liking then try this book – you might be surprised by what you find in these pages. If you loathe Chris Packham with a vengeance then you probably won’t read this book (but you probably ought to) but it’s out there, bringing more and more people to an understanding that they must act if we are to make this world a better place for nature.

Back to Nature: how to love life and save it by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin is published by Two Roads.


7 Replies to “Book review – Back to Nature by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin”

  1. I gather that writing a book is rather hard work, and the financial rewards are usually quite modest. Given these facts it surprises me that most people bother to do it. There are surely many good books on precisely this topic, so why has Chris Packham produced another one? (I’m very much a supporter of his defence of nature, by the way.) Do you authors feel compelled to express yourselves? It’s like ‘Rocky XVII’, just more of the same. Is it worth it in any sense?

    1. m parry – indeed. The same must be true of people who write blogs too – quite a lot of effort and no financial reward. And really to people kind enough to comment on blog posts too – no financial reward so it’s probably all just an ego-trip? Hang on…??

  2. It is worth a read (I like Mark heard Chris’s voice in the background at breakneck speed calling for action), and ok maybe it is another ‘call to arms’ underpinned by those damming facts but it also serves as a timely reminder (whilst we’re still in the throes of the chaos that is the Covid pandemic and Brexit) of how important it is that we have nature where we can find solace. BUT and this is the crux I suppose, if we don’t act now then it will be even more depleted for future generations.

    So, recommended reading for 650 & 800+ overpaid politicians, far too many of who are keen to deregulate inconvenient safeguards (ha, seriously – safeguards ….)

  3. I’m not accusing anyone of bad motives, I just wonder whether ‘less is more’, especially given that every human activity adds some burden to the poor groaning planet.
    We didn’t need six versions of Silent Spring did we? The very fact that it stood alone was one of the things which got it the attention it deserved.

  4. Such is Chris Packham’s appeal that this book is bound to reach people other books on this topic haven’t reached, and that’s a good thing – the more people that get the message, the better. And this book is different. It’s a lovely mixture… How can you not be fascinated by Megan McCubbin’s facts and caught up in Chris Packham’s infectious enthusiasm to right so many wrongs…

    Chris and Megan’s Self Isolating Bird Club has been offering tremendous support during lockdown, demonstrating how to find solace in Nature. “Back To Nature” seems to be the obvious next step, with a clear message that it’s now our turn to be there for Nature… Hopefully this book will inspire people to get up and do something to make our planet a better place.

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