White Beech: The Rainforest Years

Germaine Greer. Bloomsbury, $30 (384p) ISBN 978-1-62040-611-3
Greer (The Female Eunuch) has written a love letter to a rainforest, one that she just happens to own. In her middle years, Greer set out to find a property in her native Australia that she could restore to its state before white colonists imposed clear-cutting and invasive species. After a long search, she settled upon a 60-hectare dairy farm in southeastern Queensland that had suffered all the depredations of human intrusion. Greer began the painstaking process of rehabilitation and found that while the work was difficult, it wasn’t quite Sisyphean. Greer is a scrupulous scholar with a deep interest in botany, and the level of detail in her research is impressive. One of the most interesting devices in the book is her exchanges with her sister, a professional botanist, who pushes her more famous sibling to precision and clarity. There’s a fair amount of tendentious proselytizing, and even worse, Greer lets the narrative focus disappear in endless debates over the minutiae of plant classification. Still, the range of Greer’s knowledge and interests provide fascinating insight into the thoughtless transformation of a continent. (July)
Reviewed on: 03/31/2014
Release date: 07/15/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-1-4088-4673-5
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-1-4088-4671-1
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