In his wonderful story of Elzeard Bouffier, an imaginary yet wholly believable shepherd, Jean Giono perhaps hoped to inspire a reafforestation programme that would renew the whole earth. The story opposes the tree-planter, the earth husband, to the makers of war. At the same time it shows us all that is best in man’s relationship with nature – both parable and manual – and with his fellowman. For Giono, nature is a living force in which man can rediscover the depth and harmony he has lost in urban life. Michael McCurdy’s beautiful woodcuts,which accompany the text, have helped establish this book as a unique edition of a unique and inspiring story for all times. When a Guardian survey recently revealed what writers would have liked to have written, War Horse author Michael Morpurgo plumped for this extraordinary title. The Man Who Planted Trees is now long established as a literary, and environmental classic.
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