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Publisher's Summary

2019 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award

Canadian botanist, biochemist, and visionary Diana Beresford-Kroeger's startling insights into the hidden life of trees have already sparked a quiet revolution in how we understand our relationship to forests. Now, in a captivating account of how her life led her to these illuminating and crucial ideas, she shows us how forests can not only heal us but save the planet.

When Diana Beresford-Kroeger - whose father was a member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and whose mother was an O'Donoghue, one of the stronghold families who carried on the ancient Celtic traditions - was orphaned as a child, she could have been sent to the Magdalene Laundries. Instead, the O'Donoghue elders, most of them scholars and freehold farmers in the Lisheens valley in County Cork, took her under their wing. Diana became the last ward under the Brehon Law. Over the course of three summers, she was taught the ways of the Celtic triad of mind, body, and soul. This included the philosophy of healing, the laws of the trees, Brehon wisdom, and the Ogham alphabet, all of it rooted in a vision of nature that saw trees and forests as fundamental to human survival and spirituality. 

Already a precociously gifted scholar, Diana found that her grounding in the ancient ways led her to fresh scientific concepts. Out of that huge and holistic vision have come the observations that put her at the forefront of her field: the discovery of mother trees at the heart of a forest; the fact that trees are a living library, have a chemical language and communicate in a quantum world; the major idea that trees heal living creatures through the aerosols they release and that they carry a great wealth of natural antibiotics and other healing substances; and, perhaps most significantly, that planting trees can actively regulate the atmosphere and the oceans, and even stabilize our climate.

This book is not only the story of a remarkable scientist and her ideas, it harvests all of her powerful knowledge about why trees matter, and why trees are a viable, achievable solution to climate change. Diana eloquently shows us that if we can understand the intricate ways in which the health and welfare of every living creature is connected to the global forest, and strengthen those connections, we will still have time to mend the self-destructive ways that are leading to drastic fires, droughts, and floods.

©2019 Diana Beresford-Kroeger (P)2019 Random House Canada

Critic Reviews

“In her youth in Ireland, Diana Beresford-Kroeger received an extraordinary and unique education in traditional Celtic plant lore. At university in Canada, she specialized in biochemistry and merged what she learned and observed into her signature studies of trees, augmented by First Nation forest wisdom. This autobiography of learning ways to heal the damaged earth and break the tightening grip of climate crisis offers a rational and inclusive way to keep our future.” (Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News)

“Diana Beresford Kroeger has given readers a rare gift: an inspiring tale about trees, trauma and the very purpose of life. Her Celtic story works on you like a good walk in a pine forest: You can’t help but feel invigorated afterwards.” (Andrew Nikiforuk, award-winning journalist)
 

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What listeners say about To Speak for the Trees

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Deeply moving!

I'm not sure I've ever been so taken up by a book in all my life. Listening to it being read, late at night, felt like I was being carried away on an ancient dream of another lifetime and I remembered who I am, and where I've been. I'm not sure that anyone else's experience will be like mine, but I recommend this precious story, from a beautiful soul who has suffered so much, and yet has been gifted to us, for hers and our, healing. So grateful.

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

treasure

this book is a true treasure and a must read for us all. trees hold my heart and learning how to support their survival and honor their role in our world is so important. this book gives us so much information to help and knowledge that we should pass on for generations.

5 people found this helpful

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Ancient Wisdom Growing on Living Land

In her charming Irish voice DB-K reads her magical life's story with the resulting compendium of botanical hea!ing know!edge coming through her lineage of Celtic and Druidic bloodlines, p!us a lifetime of diligent scientific study, research, and experimentation. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

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An absolute gem

Was enthralled with this book from start to finish. The author has such a unique perspective, bringing a magical element to her scientific experience. As an Irish descendent who deeply appreciates both science and folklore, this book really spoke to me. She animates the natural world in a way that inspires a deep appreciation and reverence for nature that will hopefully compel readers to take action towards environmental protection! I purchased both the audible version and the hardcover, as this will be a much referenced book in my library.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved it!

Exuberantly glad I found this book. It was like coming home to an important part inside my soul.

2 people found this helpful

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The world needs this

Everyone should read this book and take the advice, planting acorns in my yard tomorrow.

2 people found this helpful

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Unique life and sprirt

I am happy the authoress did the narration. She is a generous super intelligent woman who has had many struggles and traumas and has added discoveries to her field of study as well. Learned a lot about forests and why we need ancient trees. She is worthy of a Nobel Prize.

2 people found this helpful

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To Speak for the Trees

This is the most extensive book about the wonders of how important our natural world exists to guide our planets life forces! Enjoyed immensely & will keep this download as a reference in my hobby as a tree naturalist & each known species importance for survival of the natural world. Loved the 7th generation theory of sustainability in harvesting trees properties!

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Excellent and informative

I loved this weaving of historical, biographical and botanical information. It is a great book

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diana is awsome

touching life story, and engaging subject and awsome life project. she is my hero and inspiration. Love to sit down have a cup of tea and ask a 1000 questions, and listen to her answers. Thank you, Diana.

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  • M. Turner
  • 12-29-20

wonderful book

Absolutely loved listening to Diana read her magickal book. Her rich Celtic wisdom and scientific knowledge are awe inspiring.

5 people found this helpful

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  • A. Moorhouse Sacred Earth
  • 05-31-20

Pay a narrator

I am sure this is a great book but reading your own book badly just makes it unlistenable. Its like listening to a child read. The reason why you should pay a professional narrator.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jay Latarche
  • 10-13-20

Beautiful storyteller

Fans of Robin Fox Kimmerer need to read this! I was looking for something to fill the gap that Braiding Sweetgrass left. Indebted to both of the authors for their honest life story telling and the wisdom they share.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Robinson: Author of Yoga for Witches, Yin Magic & Kitchen Witch
  • 04-17-21

Beautiful, powerful, humble

Really beautiful, a powerful journey of both sadness and beauty, told with honesty and a kind spirit x

2 people found this helpful

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  • J. Bayley
  • 06-04-20

superb content

A very inspiring book. Wish I had bought a paper copy though because narration not as good as content

2 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria Jennings
  • 02-04-20

My favourite book

Speaks to my heart, so interesting, so much information told in such a beautiful way. I will listen again and again

2 people found this helpful

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  • M. Smith
  • 10-05-21

A stunning book with great wisdom to share.

I loved this book. A stunning insightful book with so much wisdom, history and love to share. Beautiful written. Thank you so much Diana. I want everyone to read it and have shared it far and wide.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Helen Gillan
  • 10-05-21

Truly magnificent

I just loved every moment of this book. It is fascinating. Her life story itself is remarkable but her knowledge is rare and precious. I want everyone to read this book to know the enormous value of our trees and of the need to preserve ancient wisdom.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-24-20

An inspiration on all accounts

Such a well articulated life story full of wonder and compassion. A must read for any nature lover.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Deborah Barker
  • 05-04-20

Inspirational, visionary and pragmatic

Absolutely love this women and the work she is doing to shine a light on ‘right relationship with the natural world based on scientific evidence and indigenous wisdom, including her own Celtic knowledge.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fiona remaj
  • 03-24-22

loved it!!! could turn it off and want more

loved it, and will listen to it again. Diana's a beautiful reader and her story has empowered me to take her advice and get those trees planted and encourage others to do aswell for humanity sake. Her life and Brenon wardship was interesting to say the least. highly recommend

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  • Cat Masters
  • 11-27-21

Brilliant and heart warming

Diana Beresford-Kroeger has given us a precious gem with this book. Her voice is soothing, her accent is beautiful and her connection to nature can be heard and felt in her voice. This book has moved my spirit and invigorated me beyond words. I wish I could express in words how much this book resonated with me. The knowledge Diana shares with us is incredibly important and so interesting. She has shared with the reader some very personal, raw, beautiful and colourful moments from her childhood and school years. Her knowledge of trees and the natural world is remarkable. I highly recommend “To Speak for the Trees”. Everyone would get something very special out of this book. It truly is a gem, a gift from a wonderful and intelligent lady who I respect so very much. Thank you Diana.

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  • Jacqui
  • 06-01-21

Beautiful book

What a gift to the world, let's all hear Diana's call and revive this planet 🌲🙏🌳

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  • Jane Toy
  • 04-06-21

Moving and magical

Thank goodness I heard this book. Beautifully written and read. One for the gentle heart.

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  • indigirl
  • 10-10-20

So enjoyable I didn't want it to end

What an amazing book. I haven't been this affected by a book in a very long time. I loved everything about it. Diana Beresford-Kroeger's experiences are so special and we are fortunate to have her share her knowledge and wisdom with us. She made her scientific expertise accessible through clear explanations to appeal to people of all backgrounds.

I loved this book so much that I have ordered a physical copy, especially for the appendix where she explains the origin of the Ogham alphabet and correlation with tree species.

This is the first book that I wanted to start listening to again as soon as I had finished it the first time. I have since sought out all other available publications by Diana Beresford-Kroeger and would love to watch her documentary (but can't find it in Australia).

Overall, a very moving, calming, uplifting, renewing listening experience. Highly recommended.