Our Love Affair with the Lawn.
The lawn has always been a particularly English concept - from the rituals of its care to its place in literature, from the games played on it to the creator of the first lawnmower. This - the first social history of grass - shows how the lawn may be an indicator of moral worth or a symbol of tyranny. But above all, the lawn is a masculine domain.
Occupying a place in the national psyche comparable to that of afternoon tea, the English concept of the ideal lawn has evolved and altered almost beyond recognition since its first mention in the time of Henry III. Now Tom Fort traces its history, through famous lawns, to the present day.
The English are universally acknowledged to be the lawn creators, coming up with most of the games based on grass, as well as the original grass-cutting machines. The lawn has aroused the wonder of the rest of the civilised world, and the Americans have fused to their conception of suburban bliss the ideal of the impeccably manicured lawn.
This social history of grass is further enlivened by an introduction to the creator of the first lawnmower, Edwin Budding, by discussions with contemporary lawnsmen, and by witnessing the author's own attempt to create his perfect lawn. Tom Fort's delightful book is an examination of the psychology of the lawnmower, and includes interviews with key obsessive lawnmakers of today.