This engaging book is about beech trees, but it is also about numerous other issues, including global warming and the importance of trees in the landscape. Trees are the largest and most significant organisms on our planet. Beech trees reached Britain about 8,000 years ago, and they were workhorses, not ornaments: fuel for Rome's glassworks; firewood for London; oars for the ships of Venice; raw material for furniture, cut and turned by "bodgers" who lived like nomads among the trees in huts made of beechwood shavings. Author Richard Mabey discusses beech trees through autobiography, history, and natural history in Europe as well as Britain. His beeches are full of character-"hectic, gale-sculpted, gnomic"-and he writes about the bluebells, orchids, fungi, deer, and badgers associated with them, as well as the narratives that have been told about trees and the images we make of them. Many other kinds of tree are featured, and the portraits and celebrations of the beech always point to a larger story. This is a personal investigation of the ambivalent, enigmatic relationship that humans have with trees.