The Beauty of Creation
This is an endlessly fascinating view of the Enlightenment mind. White was a considerable scholar who applied his gifts to classification and observation of the fauna (particularly birds) of the Hampshire and Sussex countryside. Those who love swallows will be delighted by his obvious partiality for this most elegant of fliers. The book takes the form of letters to rwo gentlemen naturalists.
Writing in the late 18th century, White inhabited a world where bustards were still to be found on thr Downs, and the Linnean system had a rival. He takes nothing on trust, observing and recording meticulously. It is to him that we owe the distinction between the willow-warbler and the chiffchaff, based on painstaking observation. His fascination with the hirondidae extends to the then vexed question of their winter abode. White undertakes attempts to discover where they could be sheltering, and is aware through reading an account by an American naturalist that bird hibernation can occur. Here is the scientific method at its best - he keeps up-to-date with research but continues to test the truth of assertions. At the same time all his work is lit with a sense of awe at the beauty and wonder of Creation.