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This is a classic and a must read for any amateur naturalist. I got this from my library as just one of several books about native trees. I started reading the usual botanical stuff about number of pine needles and size of tree and then turned the page and got to the natural history section. It blew me away. The descriptions of the real character of the trees and their role in life and history and economics is simultaneously interesting, informative and an achievement of exceptional prose. The original prints of the trees are also artistic, accurate and beautiful.
Peattie has a rich background of history and fact for almost any tree in the eastern United States. We read of the role played by each particular species of tree in the life of the native Americans, early settlers and pioneers, historical figures like Daniel Boone or George Washington, and last but not least the use by the timber industry.
Drawing on an exceptional skill as a writer and a lifetime learning about and caring about trees, Peattie has produced what must be the most engaging book ever written about trees in one of the botanically richest regions of the world. Of course, I bought the book and its rightful place in still in my living room.