Book Review The Moor William Atkins

I enjoyed this book. It is non-fiction which I don’t read often so it was a refreshing change for me. The author travels around England to various moorlands interviewing characters he meets, exploring and laying out the history of the area. The book is sprinkled liberally with allusions to literary figures such as Ted Hughes, Emily Bronte and WH Auden with interesting stories I hadn’t heard before. I particularly enjoyed the section on the North York Moors as I knew this area well as a child. He describes a grouse shoot in all its barbarity and delves into the differing local views on the subject. In the past the moors were often referred to as a dead space like a desert but I must say I have never found them so. They are full of life: hawks, heather, cotton grass, sphagnum moss… I have always felt drawn to them. As a child you could ride across them for hours hardly seeing a soul save a tweed clad farmer who would tell you your riding lessons were too expensive and use thee and tha to address you like an Elizabethan poet. It made me feel very nostalgic for the Yorkshire moorlands even in the viciousness of their winters which are well described by Atkins. There is something glorious and other worldly about them. You can find God there.


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