James Lowen narrates a year-long quest to see Britain's rarest and more remarkable moths.
Although mostly unseen by us, moths are everywhere. And their capacity to delight astounds.
Inspired by a revelatory encounter with a Poplar Hawk-moth – a huge, velvety-winged wonder wrapped in silver – James Lowen embarks on a year-long quest to celebrate the joy of Britain's rarest and most remarkable moths. By hiking up mountains, wading through marshes and roaming by night amid ancient woodlands, James follows the trails of both Victorian collectors and present-day conservationists. Seeking to understand why they and many ordinary folk love what the general public purports to hate, his investigations reveal a heady world of criminality and controversy, derring-do and determination.
From Cornwall to the Cairngorms, James explores British landscapes to coax these much-maligned creatures out from the cover of darkness and into the light. Moths are revealed to be attractive, astonishing and approachable; capable of migratory feats and camouflage mastery, moths have much to tell us on the state of the nation's wild and not-so-wild habitats.
As a counterweight to his travels, James and his young daughter track the seasons through a kaleidoscope of moth species living innocently yet covertly in their suburban garden. Without even leaving home, they bond over a shared joy in the uncommon beauty of common creatures, for perhaps the greatest virtue of moths, we learn, is their accessibility. Moths may be everywhere, but above all, they are here. Quite unexpectedly, no animals may be better placed to inspire the environmentalists of the future.
James Lowen is an award-winning author specialising in travel and natural history, with two of his books receiving the accolade of Travel Guidebook of the Year. He also writes for publications such as The Telegraph, BBC Wildlife, Nature's Home and The Countryman.
jameslowen.com / @JLowenWildlife
“If moths mean nothing to you, opening this book is like stumbling from a dark street into an unexpected party. Here is colour, wonder, surprise – and fun. A jolly, generous, kind-hearted host, James Lowen unveils a splendid serving of moth intoxication!” —Patrick Barkham
“Charming and awe-inspiring. Whether you love or loathe moths, this book is for you.” —Kate Bradbury
“Whether recounting nights spent searching for moths amid the heather or relating an autumn dedicated to the perfect blue of Clifden Nonpareil, this boy can write!” —David Gedge
“Thoroughly recommended ... let James Lowen show you that moths are deserving of everybody's attention.” —Birdwatch Magazine
“I loved this book…and the author writes with real passion and insight about these lovely insects. After 40 years of mothing, the book brought a new interest and rekindled my old excitement of finding a new moth.” —Adrian Spalding, Atropos
“With prose as rich and velvety as a Black Rustic's wings, in Much Ado About Mothing James Lowen shines a welcome light into the hidden world of Britain's moths, those consumed by their beauty and conservation, and the places upon which they depend. Their stories are remarkable and, in this delicious book, Lowen serves them with the relish they deserve.” —Jon Dunn
“Gloriously uplifting, hilariously eccentric; a big warm hug of a book written straight from the heart. Moths at their most inspiring, nature writing at its finest.” —Helen Pilcher
“James Lowen's year-long quest to find Britain's rarest and most remarkable moths seeks to persuade the sceptical, the fearful and the unaware of the sheer unexpected beauty of these largely misjudged insects.” —Roger Butler, The Great Outdoors
“This is a book full of enthusiasm and erudition.” —Adrian Spalding, Atropos