Written by the author of "The Embarrassment of Riches" and "Citizens", this book is about man's search for his cultural origins in the landscape which surrounds him, a search which is as old as civilization itself. Forests, rivers, mountains, islands - what meanings have men invested in them, and how have they in turn shaped men's imaginations? For example, in five opening chapters, Schama shows how each of the great European cultures imagined their woodlands in ways which spoke to their collective needs. In Poland, the last great primeval forest in Europe, the woods represented liberty against the oppression of Russia and Germany. In Germany, they represented the shrine of the Teutonic spirit. In England, justice, the "King's Peace" under the greenwood. In France, order. In America, among the glades of the giant redwoods, the oldest living things in the world, the possibility of making a heaven on Earth.