I recently read Nick Hayes’ “The Book of Trespass” which Bloomsbury Books kindly sent me in return for an honest review. It was a good read, full of information and fire and passion, with a bit of drug-taking past the usual fences thrown in. I received a review copy but was pleased to find the lovely woodcuts in the final version were there – see the link to Shiny below for a picture of one of them.

This excerpt from my review perhaps is the bit that chimes most with my recent thoughts and themes and with current considerations:

The chapter on slave-owners and how their nefarious activities allowed them to claim, own and fence off large tracts of land is well-timed and makes this book even more up to date and timely. As well as information about the land in England, he goes into the divisions created between black and white slaves and indentured servants, the way the Establishment seek to divide and conquer (this comes up again in the section on migrants) and gives a shout-out to the Legacies of Britain’s Slave Ownership project. He’s scathing about one politician in particular, who claims to “ignore” the fact his wealth comes from slave-owning but still owns his family’s original sugar plantation in Barbados, and rightly so, of course, and also digs out statistics on the number of people from ethnic minorities who live in or visit the countryside. This is only one side of the many issues Hayes discusses, but perhaps one that will chime strongly with current readerships. I could write hundreds more words about all the points he goes into – the vilification of migrants, the shutting off of land that would feed people, the loss of the third space, the commons.

Read the full review here.

And in one bit that didn’t make the review cut (I really could have gone on for pages and had to be careful with my words!), I was very amused to read him describing wood pigeons saying “My toes hurt, Betty; my toes HURT, Betty” which is a running joke in my photo-a-day group and, one read, never able to be shaken. You’re welcome!