AAuthor and photographer, Thomas Pakenham searches for “wow trees” like others search for gold or adventure. In his third book on amazing trees he goes to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar with a brief visit to Mauritius to find trees that were outstanding in regard to size, age, and history as well as something less tangible that made it “wow”. In his book, Search for Remarkable Trees, Pakenham relates his adventures as he pursues his quest and illustrates all of his “prey” with stunning photographs.
Pakenham’s list of remarkable trees is organized by theme which he titles Big Beasts, More Beasts, Guests, The Endangered, and Time Lords. He includes diverse trees from the stupendous African baobab, to vanishing Outenique and Kokerbooms, the comic sausage tree, and the rainbow gum with its fabulous bark displaying a prism of colors. For each entry Pakenham intertwines the historical past of the trees, the nature of the environment, folklore, and the personal experience he had finding the tree, often involving dangers from wild animals and narrow escapes.
A sense of awe comes through all Pakenham’s writing. He has great respect and love for trees and creates a special personality for each tree he photographs and writes about. He seems to treasure the trees and the reader can not help but be touched by his feelings. This book provides a wonderful reading experience visually, intellectually, and emotionally.