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The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy

Michael McCarthy

7 Reviews

Rated 0

Prose: non-fiction, The environment, Wildlife: butterflies, other insects & spiders, Trees, wildflowers & plants

A new defence of a mortally threatened natural world.

A great, rhapsodic, urgent book full of joy, grief, rage and love . . . A must-read' Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk

Nature has many gifts for us, but perhaps the greatest of them all is joy; the intense delight we can take in the natural world, in its beauty, in the wonder it can offer us, in the peace it can provide - feelings stemming ultimately from our own unbreakable links to nature, which mean that we cannot be fully human if we are separate from it.

In The Moth Snowstorm Michael McCarthy, one of Britain's leading writers on the environment, proposes this joy as a defence of a natural world which is ever more threatened, and which, he argues, is inadequately served by the two defences put forward hitherto: sustainable development and the recognition of ecosystem services.

Drawing on a wealth of memorable experiences from a lifetime of watching and thinking about wildlife and natural landscapes, The Moth Snowstorm not only presents a new way of looking at the world around us, but effortlessly blends with it a remarkable and moving memoir of childhood trauma from which love of the natural world emerged. It is a powerful, timely, and wholly original book which comes at a time when nature has never needed it more.

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Praise for The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy

  • A great, rhapsodic, urgent book full of joy, grief, rage and love. The Moth Snowstorm is at once a deeply affecting memoir and a heartbreaking account of ecological impoverishment. It fights against indifference, shines with the deep magic and beauty of the non-human lives around us, and shows how their loss lessens us all. A must-read - Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk

  • An important book about an important subject - the loss of biodiversity locally, nationally and internationally, what this means for humanity and how it could possibly be avoided . . . The main argument is that we all have in us the capacity to experience joy and wonder from nature . . . Michael McCarthy is a professional journalist and an accomplished and experienced writer who handles his themes skilfully - Irish Examiner

  • Impassioned, polemical and personal . . . In the autobiographical passages nature is a marvel and a solace. [McCarthy's] descriptions of the night-time clouds of moths - the moth snowstorms of the title - that we saw in the days before farming ruined so much natural habitat are unforgettable, and his recollections of boyhood bird-watching on the River Dee Bay a delight . . . At its heart, this is a book aiming to persuade those who are broadly sympathetic to think in a different way, and in that it is surely a success - and a joy - Independent

  • A fascinating and very readable book . . . full of joy and wonder and luminous moments . . . McCarthy is a man who remembers not only the Observer's Book of Birds but the set of Brooke Bond tea cards featuring Charles Tunnicliffe's beautiful bird pictures. But you don't have to be of a similar vintage to enjoy this expansive celebration of a subject too often overlooked in the ongoing discourse about man and nature - sheer joy - Dabbler

  • McCarthy has for years been the doyen of environmental correspondents . . . he is conversant with the hard facts, the political realities and the moral complexities of the conservation world. But he writes also as a man inspired by the beauty, diversity and abundance of the natural world that we are destroying. This combination of worldly wisdom and deeply felt personal experience makes this a highly original and refreshing account of our current predicament - TLS

  • Deserves to be widely read - Scotsman

  • Environmental correspondent Michael McCarthy makes an impassioned plea on behalf of the natural world in this inspiring book - Sunday Express

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Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy (Author)
Michael McCarthy is one of Britain's leading environmental journalists, formerly environment correspondent of The Times and environment editor of The Independent. He has won a string of awards for his writing, including the Medal of the RSPB, for 'outstanding services to conservation.' His book Say Goodbye to the Cuckoo (2009), a study of Britain's summer migrant birds, was widely praised; The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy (2015) was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize and the Richard Jefferies Prize.

Jeremy Mynott (Author)
Jeremy Mynott is a classical scholar, Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge and former Chief Executive of Cambridge University Press. He is the author of various books on wildlife and nature. Birdscapes: birds in our experience and imagination (2009) was described by one reviewer as 'the finest book ever written on why we watch birds'. His latest book, Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words (2018), was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize and was a TLS 'Book of the Year'.

Peter Marren (Author)
Peter Marren is a nature writer and commentator, author of Bugs Britannica, Rainbow Dust, Chasing the Ghost and many other books on British plants, insects, and the countryside. He won the BSBI President's Prize for Britain's Rare Flowers, which was also runner-up for the Natural World Book Prize. He was awarded the Thackray Medal for The New Naturalists by the Society for the History of Natural History. His satirical column in British Wildlife magazine, Twitcher in the Swamp, has a cult following.

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