Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £31.49

Buy Now for £31.49

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

2019 Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award

Canadian botanist, biochemist, and visionary Diana Beresford-Kroeger's startling insights into the hidden life of trees have already sparked a quiet revolution in how we understand our relationship to forests. Now, in a captivating account of how her life led her to these illuminating and crucial ideas, she shows us how forests can not only heal us but save the planet.

When Diana Beresford-Kroeger - whose father was a member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and whose mother was an O'Donoghue, one of the stronghold families who carried on the ancient Celtic traditions - was orphaned as a child, she could have been sent to the Magdalene Laundries. Instead, the O'Donoghue elders, most of them scholars and freehold farmers in the Lisheens valley in County Cork, took her under their wing. Diana became the last ward under the Brehon Law. Over the course of three summers, she was taught the ways of the Celtic triad of mind, body, and soul. This included the philosophy of healing, the laws of the trees, Brehon wisdom, and the Ogham alphabet, all of it rooted in a vision of nature that saw trees and forests as fundamental to human survival and spirituality. 

Already a precociously gifted scholar, Diana found that her grounding in the ancient ways led her to fresh scientific concepts. Out of that huge and holistic vision have come the observations that put her at the forefront of her field: the discovery of mother trees at the heart of a forest; the fact that trees are a living library, have a chemical language and communicate in a quantum world; the major idea that trees heal living creatures through the aerosols they release and that they carry a great wealth of natural antibiotics and other healing substances; and, perhaps most significantly, that planting trees can actively regulate the atmosphere and the oceans, and even stabilize our climate.

This book is not only the story of a remarkable scientist and her ideas, it harvests all of her powerful knowledge about why trees matter, and why trees are a viable, achievable solution to climate change. Diana eloquently shows us that if we can understand the intricate ways in which the health and welfare of every living creature is connected to the global forest, and strengthen those connections, we will still have time to mend the self-destructive ways that are leading to drastic fires, droughts, and floods.

©2019 Diana Beresford-Kroeger (P)2019 Random House Canada

Critic reviews

“In her youth in Ireland, Diana Beresford-Kroeger received an extraordinary and unique education in traditional Celtic plant lore. At university in Canada, she specialized in biochemistry and merged what she learned and observed into her signature studies of trees, augmented by First Nation forest wisdom. This autobiography of learning ways to heal the damaged earth and break the tightening grip of climate crisis offers a rational and inclusive way to keep our future.” (Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News)

“Diana Beresford Kroeger has given readers a rare gift: an inspiring tale about trees, trauma and the very purpose of life. Her Celtic story works on you like a good walk in a pine forest: You can’t help but feel invigorated afterwards.” (Andrew Nikiforuk, award-winning journalist)
 

What listeners say about To Speak for the Trees

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    60
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    43
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    48
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful book

Absolutely loved listening to Diana read her magickal book. Her rich Celtic wisdom and scientific knowledge are awe inspiring.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful storyteller

Fans of Robin Fox Kimmerer need to read this! I was looking for something to fill the gap that Braiding Sweetgrass left. Indebted to both of the authors for their honest life story telling and the wisdom they share.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Pay a narrator

I am sure this is a great book but reading your own book badly just makes it unlistenable. Its like listening to a child read. The reason why you should pay a professional narrator.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A stunning book with great wisdom to share.

I loved this book. A stunning insightful book with so much wisdom, history and love to share. Beautiful written. Thank you so much Diana. I want everyone to read it and have shared it far and wide.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful, powerful, humble

Really beautiful, a powerful journey of both sadness and beauty, told with honesty and a kind spirit x

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

superb content

A very inspiring book. Wish I had bought a paper copy though because narration not as good as content

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

My favourite book

Speaks to my heart, so interesting, so much information told in such a beautiful way. I will listen again and again

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Truly magnificent

I just loved every moment of this book. It is fascinating. Her life story itself is remarkable but her knowledge is rare and precious. I want everyone to read this book to know the enormous value of our trees and of the need to preserve ancient wisdom.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An inspiration on all accounts

Such a well articulated life story full of wonder and compassion. A must read for any nature lover.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Inspirational, visionary and pragmatic

Absolutely love this women and the work she is doing to shine a light on ‘right relationship with the natural world based on scientific evidence and indigenous wisdom, including her own Celtic knowledge.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anne Milligan
  • Anne Milligan
  • 27-07-20

Deeply moving!

I'm not sure I've ever been so taken up by a book in all my life. Listening to it being read, late at night, felt like I was being carried away on an ancient dream of another lifetime and I remembered who I am, and where I've been. I'm not sure that anyone else's experience will be like mine, but I recommend this precious story, from a beautiful soul who has suffered so much, and yet has been gifted to us, for hers and our, healing. So grateful.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Hassel Haus
  • Hassel Haus
  • 18-07-20

treasure

this book is a true treasure and a must read for us all. trees hold my heart and learning how to support their survival and honor their role in our world is so important. this book gives us so much information to help and knowledge that we should pass on for generations.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Penrose
  • Penrose
  • 26-01-20

Ancient Wisdom Growing on Living Land

In her charming Irish voice DB-K reads her magical life's story with the resulting compendium of botanical hea!ing know!edge coming through her lineage of Celtic and Druidic bloodlines, p!us a lifetime of diligent scientific study, research, and experimentation. Highly recommended.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for tara
  • tara
  • 10-09-20

An absolute gem

Was enthralled with this book from start to finish. The author has such a unique perspective, bringing a magical element to her scientific experience. As an Irish descendent who deeply appreciates both science and folklore, this book really spoke to me. She animates the natural world in a way that inspires a deep appreciation and reverence for nature that will hopefully compel readers to take action towards environmental protection! I purchased both the audible version and the hardcover, as this will be a much referenced book in my library.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lee
  • Lee
  • 26-07-20

Unique life and sprirt

I am happy the authoress did the narration. She is a generous super intelligent woman who has had many struggles and traumas and has added discoveries to her field of study as well. Learned a lot about forests and why we need ancient trees. She is worthy of a Nobel Prize.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Diana
  • Diana
  • 28-12-20

Loved it!

Exuberantly glad I found this book. It was like coming home to an important part inside my soul.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-09-20

The world needs this

Everyone should read this book and take the advice, planting acorns in my yard tomorrow.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Rebecca C.
  • Rebecca C.
  • 03-07-22

Lovely to listen to, like having an Irish friend

Her Irish accent and her vocal cadence are lovely and warm. I find myself re-listening just for that. I was gripped by the first part of the book- especially her story of growing up an orphan. I wanted to know more about her story and I wanted to know more about the teachings she received about the Brehan laws. I thought things fizzled out more towards the end but I am someone who really enjoys autobiographies so maybe that is why.

I did enjoy hearing about Ogham writing and the trees/vines/reed symbolic, medicinal, and cultural associations. This portion of the book read to me as more of a reference and in my opinion it was more difficult to sustain attention and follow -at least in an audiobook format. The details about each letter/tree/vine etc were still very interesting.

I would like also for there to be a PDF of the Ogham script And a chart of the symbolic associations for easy reference that would be nice.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Arrow
  • Arrow
  • 08-06-22

a thing of beauty

I hope the author narrates the rest of her books!! what an amazing message and her voice only helps convey her passion and personality

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daniel. F. Rockwell
  • Daniel. F. Rockwell
  • 23-05-22

To Speak for the Trees

This is the most extensive book about the wonders of how important our natural world exists to guide our planets life forces! Enjoyed immensely & will keep this download as a reference in my hobby as a tree naturalist & each known species importance for survival of the natural world. Loved the 7th generation theory of sustainability in harvesting trees properties!