The Man Who Climbs Trees: The Lofty Adventures of a Wildlife Cameraman (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This amazing adventure memoir details the life of BBC and National Geographic cameraman Aldred as he makes his way into the canopies of the world’s magnificent trees. It’s an account that entails figuring out how to reach the lower branches of a 250 foot strangler fig tree in Borneo. There’s excruciating tension as he endures an attack by a nest of bees in Gabon. There’s heat and drenching humidity but also the great beauty of the view from the tree tops, and because Aldred writes well and loves what he does, the entire account is lyrical.

— Ann


“A vertiginous, white-knuckled adventure through some of the most spectacular forests in the world.” ​—Washington Post

Meet the man who climbs trees for a living.​ In this adventure memoir, Aldred carries us with him across the globe and up to the top of these towering forest titans as he recalls his most memorable encounters with trees and their inhabitants.​

Every child knows the allure of climbing trees. But how many of us get to make a living at it, spending days observing nature from the canopies of stunning forests all around the world?

As a wildlife cameraman for the BBC and National Geographic, James Aldred spends his working life high up in trees, poised to capture key moments in the lives of wild animals and birds. Aldred’s climbs take him to the most incredible and majestic trees in existence. In Borneo, home to the tallest tropical rain forest on the planet, just getting a rope up into the 250-foot-tall trees is a challenge. In Venezuela, even body armor isn’t guaranteed protection against the razor-sharp talons of a nesting Harpy Eagle. In Australia, the peace of being lulled to sleep in a hammock twenty-five stories above the ground— after a grueling day of climbing and filming—is broken by a midnight storm that threatens to topple the tree.
In this vivid account of memorable trees he has climbed (“Goliath,” “Apollo,” “Roaring Meg”), Aldred blends incredible stories of his adventures in the branches with a fascination for the majesty of trees to show us the joy of rising—literally—above the daily grind, up into the canopy of the forest.

About the Author

JAMES ALDRED grew up on the edge of a forest and spent his teenage years exploring it. By fourteen he was building forest shelters and sleeping rough in the woods. By sixteen he was spending much of his time up in the branches. These days, when he’s not filming in far-flung countries, he lives in the west country of the UK with his wife and children.

Praise For…

“A vertiginous, white-knuckled adventure through some of the most spectacular forests in the world.”
Washington Post
“Truly, Aldred offers a feast for the imagination, one that will draw you back to the landscapes that you’ve loved and pull you forward toward new ones. This wide-ranging and beautiful book, brought to life with expertise, affection and respect, is not to be missed.”

The Man Who Climbs Trees is a book of heart-stopping bravery and endurance, packed with astonishing—and sometimes gruesome—encounters with wild creatures. James Aldred is an old-school hero, and his thrilling recollections of a life of adventure driven by a love for trees will give you new reverence for the beauties and mysteries of the natural world.”
—Helen MacDonald, author of H Is for Hawk

“The giant trees, described by James Aldred, are full of wonder, and his fascinating book is a story of real adventure.”
— Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees

"Passionate and courageous, in his masterpiece of a memoir, The Man Who Climbs Trees, James Aldred reminds us that the sweet green world around
us is as alive as any creature—and trees are wondrous individuals with deep truths to tell. This is a book filled with beauty, suspense and revelation. I loved it!"
— Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus

"James Aldred is the ideal guide to the unexplored realm hovering just over our heads—the world of the forest canopy. His writing is vivid, a feast for the senses. Even under assault by bugs and birds, Aldred remains imbued with an irresistible sense of awe for this aerial wonderland that few of us will ever see."
— Michael Finkel, author of The Stranger in the Woods

“A great read—incredible adventures and a dramatic new perspective from the arms of the world’s giants.”
—Chris Packham, author of Fingers in the Sparkle Jar

“To leave the dank darkness of the jungle floor and travel up to the sunlight of the forest canopy is probably the natural world’s most exciting revelation. James Aldred’s wonderful book is as close as you will ever get to that experience, without risking the climb for yourself.”
—Alastair Fothergill, producer of The Blue Planet, Planet Earth, and Frozen Planet

“A heady blend of daredevil ascents with a reflective wonder at the beauty of these living climbing frames.”
—Derek Niemann, nature writer and journalist
Product Details
ISBN: 9780358090090
ISBN-10: 0358090091
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: May 21st, 2019
Pages: 272