From Oxfordshire to the Punjab, and with a novelist’s eye for detail, this is a remarkable guide to our sense of place and its hidden stories.
Looking out from the well-loved local landmark in Oxfordshire known as the Wittenham Clumps, Peter Adamson discovers hidden landscapes — historical, cultural, biographical and scientific — that take us further than the eye can see.
A remote and tranquil farmhouse is revealed to be the place where one of the greatest of all war poems was written. A common thistle becomes a memorial to a Northern mill and to the author’s father. A 1960s council estate is found to have a history including Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. An innocent hedgerow represents one of England’s most bitter conflicts. A local rectory is discovered to have played a critical role in the American Revolution. An anonymous building in the middle-distance houses is getting ready to generate temperatures many times hotter than the sun. And a prim-looking Queen Anne manor house turns out to have been the stage for one of the most celebrated literary affairs of the twentieth century.