THE MAN WHO MADE THINGS OUT OF TREES
(Published by Penguin in the UK and W.W. Norton & Co. in the USA)
BBC Radio Four ‘Book of the Week’, December 2015; shortlisted for the IBW Book Award 2016
‘Lovingly crafted’ – Observer
‘This book is bound for great things’ – Independent
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.
‘A eulogy to the importance of ash throughout human history . . . Fascinating’ – Tobias Jones, Guardian
‘The appeal of Robert Penn’s enchanting narrative extends far beyond tree enthusiasts, woodworkers, and fanatic loggers like me. It is a book-lover’s feast. Penn’s wonderful prose and compelling research put The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees right up there in the league with such classics as John McPhee’s The Survival of the Bark Canoe.’ (Rinker Buck, New York Times best-selling author of The Oregon Trail)