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People living on the edge or in the midst of moorland have interacted with their environment for centuries, utilizing its resources and drawing upon its unique features to provide shape and meaning for their lives.
Donald S. Murray's new book is an examination of the moorland, ranging from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and even Australia. Murray explores moorland in all its different guises and roles, considering its scientific, aesthetic and preservative qualities, reflecting on how for centuries humans have represented it in literature, art and folk tales. He reveals both its industrial heritage and how we still use and abuse it today. In particular, Murray examines the politics of ownership and the way Europe's moorlands have been employed for punitive purposes and in rebellions against the authority of the state.
The Dark Stuff weaves in Murray's childhood memories and his experiences from the Isle of Lewis as he investigates oral histories, poetry, songs, and historical records about these locations. He also confronts some of the darker realities of how European moorland has been employed in the recent and historical past, examining current political debate and scientific knowledge, and delving into social, economic, and religious histories to provide broader context.