Catalogue


Oak /
Peter Young.
imprint
London : Reaktion Books, 2013.
description
208 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 cm.
ISBN
9781780230375
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
series title
series title
imprint
London : Reaktion Books, 2013.
isbn
9781780230375
catalogue key
8785107
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 193-197) and index.
A Look Inside
Summaries
Main Description
The reputation of the oak is based not on superlatives but on personality. In human terms, it is not a celebrity, but a reliable citizen. Its enduring legacy is evident in place- and surnames, in landmarks and buildings and as a sturdy staple of engineering material. More than any other tree, the oak has been a symbol of strength and durability. Venerated in pagan societies, elements of its worship were absorbed by other religions: Celtic mythology, for example, where it is believed to be a gateway between worlds; or Norse, where it is sacred to Thor, god of thunder, as the tree most often struck by lightning. The oak has been adopted by many countries as a national symbol, particularly in western Europe and the United States. Several individual oaks are of great historical importance, such as the Royal Oak within which King Charles II of England hid to escape the Roundheads, and the Charter Oak in Hartford, Connecticut, which became a symbol of American independence. In Oak, Peter Young illuminates and examines this magnificent and ubiquitous tree, tracing its biological history in its many manifestations, natural and cultural. Much-loved internationally, the oak is to be found in works of art, folk-tales, poems and songs. Oaknarrates the biography of the tree that since time immemorial has been a symbol of loyalty and strength, generosity and renewal.
Bowker Data Service Summary
In 'Oak', Peter Young illuminates and examines this magnificent and ubiquitous tree, tracing its biological history in its many manifestations, natural and cultural.
Main Description
Botanical, a new series from Reaktion, is the first to integrate horticultural writing with a broader account of the cultural and social impact of plants. Oak, one of the first two books in the series, narrates the biography of the tree that since time immemorial has been a symbol of loyalty, strength, generosity, and renewal. Peter Young explores how the oak, native to the northern hemisphere and found in locations as diverse as the Americas and tropical Asia, has played an important role in state-building, art, folk tales, poems, and songs. Starting with the pagan societies that venerated the oak, Young examines how the tree was used in other religions, revealing how it was believed to be a gateway between worlds in Celtic mythology and later became sacred to Thor in Norse mythology. He follows the oak as it was adopted by many Western European countries as a national symbol, including England, France, and Germany. The United States Congress designated the oak as America's national tree in 2004, and it is the state tree of Iowa, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Georgia. Individual oak trees have also gained historical importance, such as the Charter Oak in Hartford, Connecticut, which became a symbol of American independence. In addition to tracing the history of the tree itself, Young investigates oak as a wood used to make furniture, bridges, wine casks, homes, ships, weapons, and even the electric chair, and he describes how the tree has been used as a food source-its fruit, the acorn, was eaten in ancient Greece, ancient Iberia, and Korea, and it was a traditional food of Native Americans. Packed with information and beautiful illustrations, Oaktells the fascinating tale of this stately, durable member of the natural world.

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