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William Purdom: Agitator, plant-hunter, forester

William Purdom: Agitator, plant-hunter, forester

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In a short life full of quiet, yet heroic, endeavour, Will Purdom, the son of a gardener from the North of England, carved out a successful career as a plant-hunter and forester. He rose to become a key figure in China's struggle to repair the ecology and sustainability of its forests after decades of ruinous logging. His name is honoured there but his self-effacing character means that he has been overlooked at home.

Francois Gordon has teased out a history of incredible hardships and life-threatening perils in the war-torn interior of China in the early years of the 20th century; of a life dedicated to discovering plants in service of Country, gardens, science and commerce.

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