Books

Hedgehog (Reaktion, £9.99)

I have long loved the Animal series from Reaktion – and after reviewing a couple of them for the BBC Wildlife Magazine I asked whether anyone was doing the hedgehog edition … someone had put in a proposal, but it was not commissioned, so I thrust myself to the front of the queue and this is the result. In terms of returns for time and effort, I was paid a few pence per hour. But the result looks gorgeous – over 100 pictures laboriously sourced by yours truly (and the words aren’t so bad either).

Again, it has been very pleasing to see reviews:

Oxford Times: “Hugh Warwick’s book Hedgehog is a delight for anyone of any age…”
Smallholder Magazine: “With hedgehogs on the decline this is a wonderful insight into the world of one of our favourite creatures.”
British Hedgehog Preservation Society CEO, Fay Vas (okay, I know this is a biased reader): “I would really recommend this unique book to anyone with an interest in hedgehogs. Despite taking a serious look at some of the big issues, Hugh Warwick manages to sprinkle his trademark wit and charm throughout.”

Available in all good book stores – and also online at Amazon.

The Beauty in the Beast: Britain’s Favourite Creatures and the People Who Love Them (Simon & Schuster, £8.99)

The paperback for this book was a triumph of hope over realistic chances of success … I had been promised a few words for the cover by Dr Brian May (yes, that one, the astrophysicist, badger-loving, rock star). He is very kind and generous and, I have heard, says yes to far too many things, so I did wonder whether I was going to be disappointed. I need not have worried – he did more than write a few words, he wrote a 1000 word essay that is now the Foreword for the paperback … and because I am a generous spirit, here it is.

The reviews have been wonderful and they make me realise how much I need to hear nice things – putting so much of oneself on show does make you feel vulnerable! So thank you to all who reviewed me so blush-makingly!

Daily Mail: “That’s typical of Hugh Warwick s lovely, easy, humorous style. His book works on so many levels: as a portrait of British eccentricity, as an informal, highly selective guide to our native fauna, and quietly but angrily, as a polemic on the destruction of habitat and on the terrible mess we have made of our countryside.”
The Independent: “This entertaining book is really an extended study of the concept of biophilia. The love of nature lies at the heart of things. As Stephen Jay Gould warned: “We will not fight to save what we do not love.” The message is that you do not acquire it by watching Attenborough on the telly (all right as far as it goes) but by going out and getting your wellies wet.”

There are still a few copies of the hardback kicking around – it is such a beautiful book that it will make an ideal gift. If you cannot track one down, do email me, we might be able to come to some arrangement with me posting out a signed copy …

Going to your local bookshop is much more fun and will help to keep them alive but, if you cannot wait or get out, try Amazon.

Reviews
Daily Mail‘It’s all glorious fun, packed with astounding snippets of information that might previously have passed you by….His book works on so many levels: as a portrait of British eccentricity, as an informal, highly selective guide to our native fauna, and, quietly but angrily, as a polemic on the destruction of habitat and on the terrible mess we have made of our countryside. “I preach hedgehog,” he writes, not entirely seriously, but there’s more to him than that, on the evidence of this book: a lot more.’

A Prickly Affair: The Charm of the Hedgehog (Penguin, £9.99)

A book about my passionate affair with this wonderful animal in which I argue that they are the most important creature on the planet. Full of the madness of obsessives who make me seem quite normal, this is a funny look at a creature we all think we know – managing to sneak in a whole array of facts amidst the anarchy of hedgehog hospitals and the International Hedgehog Olympic Games.

Going to your local bookshop is much more fun and will help to keep them alive but, if you cannot wait or get out, try Amazon.

Reviews
The Guardian gave it ‘Paperback of the week’ status and with it a review so glowing that I blushed – you can read it all here. But just a few choice phrases I will put here, to save you the effort! ‘So what is not to love about this book? It is funny, generous, kind, learned (a lot of ancient hedgehog lore), thoughtful, ecologically minded and – this is quite important, actually – unsentimental.I would never have imagined that a book on this subject would have me reading lots of bits of it out to anyone who would listen. But that’s what happened here. It achieves its purpose: and in its charm lies its success.‘ The reviewer was also the first to point out that this is possibly the only book in existence to have commendations from both Jeanette Winterson and Ann Widdecombe!

Jeanette Winterson
‘the most glorious mad book…a charming book and will take your mind off everything.’

New Scientist
‘…an autobiographical yarn…that is at once humorous, touching and obsessive…An oddly satisfying read.’

Jay Griffiths
‘This is an utterly charming book, it is funny and gently serious.’

Libby Purves (Midweek)
‘The perfect antidote to the economic crisis.’

The Spectator
‘This is a useful and entertaining book, and unsentimental.’

Daily Telegraph
‘Hugh Warwick, an otherwise normal father-of-two…’

Oxford Times
‘You end up learning an enormous amount about hedgehogs without really noticing, and laugh quite a lot, too.’

Hay Book Festival programme
‘A truly eccentric global story of hog lore.’

LA Times
‘There’s more than a whiff of the legendary naturalist Gerald Durrell here — his humor, his affection and his never-ending curiosity.’

  • Hugh Warwick holding a toad

  • Hugh Warwick is an ecologist and writer with a particular fondness for hedgehogs. His first book, A Prickly Affair, remains the only book to have accolades from both Jeanette Winterson and Ann Widdecombe on the cover. The Beauty in the Beast is published in May 2012 and takes him on a journey in search of other animals. And in November 2012 he returns to hedgehogs with a book about the iconography of the animal.

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