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Red Oaks and Black Birches: The Science and Lore of Trees.

Red Oaks and Black Birches: The Science and Lore of Trees, by Rebecca Rupp. Storey Communications, RD 1 Box 105, Pownal, VT 05261-9990 (1990). 276 pp. Paperback $10.95.

This author seems to be bursting with knowledge. Rupp not only knows her trees firsthand, but she seems to be able to quote every other book that mentions trees, from Homer to your local food columnist. That is an exaggeration, of course, but in writing about these 20 groups of trees--from oak to Christmas--Rupp has the knack not only for finding another authority to support a point, but for finding the off-beat, the witty, the crystal-clear explanation.

Discussing the moisture content of firewood, she notes that the rulers of ancient China prohibited cutting firewood in spring and that Calvin Coolidge's farm calendar prescribed the dry month of January for gathering logs.

Her own writing can be both colorful and clear without being dull. When she describes the disease scurvy, she notes, "Scurvy killed off more sailors during this period than did enemy bullets, and often less attractively." Whether she is talking about willows as Victorian symbols of forsaken love or as erosion controllers, Rupp's creativity follows through to the end. The only problem with this book is that it contains so much delicious information that you have to read it slowly. Not because it's difficult, but because it's too good to race through.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Forests
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Kaufman, Wallace
Publication:American Forests
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Words:232
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