One Midsummer's Day

Swifts and the Story of Life on Earth

Mark Cocker author


Publisher:Vintage Publishing

Published:1st Jun '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

One Midsummer's Day cover

It takes a whole universe to make one small black bird

The bestselling author of Crow Country and writer of TheGuardian's Country Diary tells the story of all life on Earth through a single day spent in the company of swifts.

'A jewel of a book' Caroline Lucas MP

Swifts are among the most extraordinary of all birds. Their migrations span continents and their twelve-week stopover, when they pause to breed in European rooftops, is the very definition of summer. They may nest in our homes but much about their lives passes over our heads. No birds are more wreathed in mystery. Captivated, Mark Cocker sets out to capture their essence.

Over the course of one day in midsummer he devotes himself to his beloved black birds as they spiral overhead. Yet this is also a book about so much more. Swifts are a prism through which Cocker explores the profound interconnections of the whole biosphere.

From the deep-sea thermal vents where life was born to the 15 million degrees at the core of our Sun, he shows that life is a singular and glorious continuum. These birds without borders are a perfect symbol to express the unity of the living planet. But they also illuminate how no creature, least of all ourselves, can be said to be alive in isolation. We are all inextricably connected.

Drawing deeply on science, history, literature and a lifetime of close observation, One Midsummer's Day is a dazzling and wide-ranging celebration of all life on Earth by one of our greatest nature writers.

'A nature classic for the new century' Jim Perrin, author of Snowdon

A rich and elegant exploration that takes us to unexpected places. With the swift as our lift, we leave the garden on an extraordinary tour that takes in the moon, amongst many other wonderful destinations -- Tristan Gooley, author of HOW TO READ A TREE
One Midsummer's Day is not just a glorious celebration of swifts but of their place amid the panoply of life on Earth... Cocker is one of our greatest living naturalists...and he brings to this vast subject a scientist's rigour and a poet's expansive vision -- Philip Marsden * Spectator *
A beautiful, brilliant, mind-stretching and soul-flying book. Genius -- Horatio Clare, author of A Single Swallow
In his mission to restore a sense of wonder to life's small and ordinary things, Mark Cocker - author of the award-winning Crow Country - takes us on a soaring journey from the Cretaceous period to a summer's day in his English garden... Lyrical, grand and full of reverence * Guardian, Book of the Day *
His grandest effort yet. Told as a series of reflections that fly through his mind in the course of a single day watching swifts from his garden in Norfolk, he ranges across topics as widely as a swift ranges across the sky.... Magnificent * Financial Times *
A thoughtful combination of the personal and the ornithological * Observer *
Cocker brings both nostalgia and universal connections to the swifts' majestic, sky-high adventures * Mail on Sunday *
Mark Cocker's ode to a remarkable species makes a powerful case for the value of awe in a time of ecological grief * New Statesman *
It's not often I am moved to tears. I wish you could reprint the last chapter of One Midsummer's Day as a free-standing essay and give it out to every schoolchild in the country -- Kathleen Jamie, National Poet of Scotland
Mark Cocker has achieved something extraordinary. Crafted from a lifetime of watching and adoring nature, he presents to us the whole universe, reflected in the dark eye of a sleek brown bird. At once intimate and expansive, this book is a lovesong to swifts, a paean to nature and a call to protect our unique and fragile planet -- Lee Schofield, author of WILD FELL
Lyrical and startling by turn, he reveals the extraordinary in the apparently ordinary ... A jewel of a book -- Caroline Lucas MP
An outright classic of his genre... If you thrill to the swifts' arrival (and mourn their annual too-soon departure), this book will enchant as they do... A nature classic for the new century -- Jim Perrin, author of SNOWDON
I loved this book. Reading it, I realised I needed this book. I felt awe, at the story Mark Cocker tells and the ambition in telling it. He pulls it off and has created a masterpiece unlike anything else - a gentle deep-time joyride, a paean to a small black bird and to all of existence. Literally wonder-full -- Tom Mustill, author of HOW TO SPEAK WHALE
A passionately written study of these mysterious "creatures of air", fascinating and constantly thought-provoking -- Ann Wroe, author of SIX FACETS OF LIGHT
As thoroughly researched and elegantly written as one would expect from Mark Cocker, one of the leading nature writers of our time.More than just an account of a species of bird, remarkable though that bird is, Cocker goes much further to show how the life of swifts is deeply entangled with the entirety of life on Earth -- Peter Reason, author of IN SEARCH OF GRACE
Magnificent ... One Midsummer's Day situates both swifts and humans in the universe in a way that I've not seen done for any species... a beautifully poised book -- Charles Foster, author of BEING A BEAST
A wonderful book that weaves half a century of natural history expertise around a vanishing bird. Informative, personal, universal and thrilling -- Roger Morgan-Grenville, author of ACROSS A WAKING LAND
If like me you love swifts, this one is for you, but its scope and appeal takes in a far wider range of summer wildlife, too * Bird Watching, *Book of the Month* *
A book of ambition, intellect and compassion * Irish Independent *

ISBN: 9781787332799

Dimensions: 240mm x 162mm x 33mm

Weight: 573g

352 pages