Books

The Beauty in the Beast: Britain’s Favourite Creatures and the People Who Love Them (Simon & Schuster, £14.99)

The Beauty in the Beast is an illuminating portrait of some of the UK’s favourite animals and the colourful enthusiasts who champion their causes.

It is also a love story. ‘We will not fight to save what we do not love,’ said the late biologist Stephen Jay Gould – and this is not just a one-way street. Because we have an innate need for contact with the natural world. And while it can be difficult to form an attachment with the rather vague notion of the natural world, finding an individual species to become a gatekeeper can change everything – as every one of these fifteen amazing people reveal.

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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