Peter Wohlleben
2018 | 176pp | £12.99
ISBN 9781846045783

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A Picture of The Weather Detective Book Cover

Many of us town and city dwellers no longer have a close connection to the natural world. As urbanites, we have sleepwalked into a more sterile environment, where the beating heart of nature is subdued and hard to hear. We walk down impermeable orange-lit streets unable to see the stars at night or stride quickly across paved squares, our peripheral vision dominated by high-rise buildings. We have lost touch.

In The Weather Detective, Peter Wohlleben is determined to show us another way. Wohlleben has worked with nature throughout his career including with the forestry commission in Germany and managing his woodland. He is amply qualified to show us the route through the trees, back to nature.

This book isn’t a scientific treatise on weather, its different forms, what affects it and how it shapes the world. Rather, and I enjoyed it all the more so for it, this book is like going on a walk with a family friend whose passion pours out at every step. Wohlleben covers a range of topics in an easy to read 160 pages; from how to read the weather, types of weather and how it can affect the seasons, plants and animals and the inevitable effects of climate change on the weather we experience.  

Wohlleben shows us that we can still re-connect with nature through the weather, read the signs in the behaviours of birds and insects, or through understanding our immediate environment in the smallest garden plot or window box. He could have easily strayed off into the wilderness, using examples from vast landscapes or mountain regions. However, he always brings us back to what we can immediately see and do to experience these effects, in our own garden, allotment or communal park. Perhaps there could have been more scientific data and illustrations, but the book is written in a very accessible way and gives just enough information for a curious reader to follow up with independent research if needed.

Some areas of the planet experience weather that sets in for weeks or months. In other areas, the UK being one example, weather is always on our minds because it changes so frequently. For this reason, this book should be an interesting and perhaps essential read for anyone who is affected by weather – whether they are a weekend hill walker or garden potterer.