The Book of Trespass
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- Bloomsbury Publishing
- 464 pages
- Hardcover with dust jacket
- 24 × 16 × 4 cm
The vast majority of England is entirely unknown to us because we are banned from setting foot on it. By law of trespass, we are excluded from 92 per cent of the land and 97 per cent of its waterways, blocked by walls whose legitimacy is rarely questioned. But behind them lies a story of enclosure, exploitation and dispossession of public rights whose effects last to this day.
The Book of Trespass takes us on a journey over the walls of England, into the thousands of square miles of rivers, woodland, lakes and meadows that are blocked from public access. By trespassing the land of the media magnates, Lords, politicians and private corporations that own England, Nick Hayes argues that the root of social inequality is the uneven distribution of land.
Weaving together the stories of poachers, vagabonds, gypsies, witches, hippies, ravers, ramblers, migrants and protestors, and charting acts of civil disobedience that challenge orthodox power at its heart, The Book of Trespass will transform the way you see the land.
“What a brilliant, passionate and political book this is, by a young writer-walker-activist who is also a dazzlingly gifted artist. It tells – through story, exploration, evocation – the history of trespass (and therefore of freedom) in Britain and beyond, while also making a powerful case for future change. It is bold and brave, as well as beautiful; Hayes’s voice is warm, funny, smart and inspiring. The Book of Trespass will make you see landscapes differently” – Robert Macfarlane,
“Seeks to challenge and expose the mesmerising power that landownership exerts on this country, and to show how we can challenge its presumptions . . . The Book of Trespass is massively researched but lightly delivered, a remarkable and truly radical work, loaded with resonant truths and stunningly illustrated by the author” – George Monbiot, Guardian
“A powerful new narrative about the vexed issue of land rights . . . Hayes [is] practically a professional trespasser these days, no sign too forbidding to be ignored, no fence too high to be climed . . . The Book of Trespass is [Hayes’s] first non-graphic book – though the text is punctuated by his marvellous illustations, linocuts that bring to mind the Erics, Gill and Ravilious – and in it, he weaves several centuries of English history together with the stories of gypsies, witches, ramblers, migrants and campaigners, as well as his own adventures. Its sweep is vast” – Observer
“Brilliantly argued, The Book of Trespass explores with clarity and courage an ancient problem in radically new ways . . . Hayes unearths the psychological preconditions that empower and legitimise these monumental inequalities” – Mark Cocker, New Statesman