The Changing Countryside. Edited by John Blunden and Nigel Curry. Christopher Helm, London, 1985. 269 pages; 14 colour plates; 46 black-and-white plates; 18 line-drawings. Paperback, £11.95. The Countryside Handbook. Edited by Alan Rogers, John Blunden and Nigel Curry. Christopher Helm, London, 1985. 98 pages. Paperback, £5.95.These are complementary volumes, produced by the Open University in association with the Countryside Commission. The Handbook is simply a directory and reference to legislation, publications and voluntary and official bodies concerned with the countryside. As such, it is a useful volume, whether or not one agrees with the comments provided on each entry. The main book, The Changing Countryside, was a disappointment. Much of it comprises a tedious account of bureaucratic history and procedures, which needed summarising. And why should material for such a book avoid objective analysis (see p. 20)? The material seemed intensively selective, so the book misses many opportunities. Thus, the extent to which modern agriculture has reversed the effects of the depression of 1885-1939 is not discussed, although, as noted in the author's note on further reading, this needs thorough examination, as do the true impacts of the depression on landscape and wildlife habitats, a subject hardly recognised today. Understanding these points seems essential to any discussion of present events or future action. Nor do the authors even mention the major changes in geographic distribution of farm enterprises, and therefore habitats, although regional changes in the structure of the countryside have been much more intense than the national ones, an
Issue 1
Spencer, R
Shrubb, M

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