9780241979495_irreplaceable_b3For readers of George Monbiot, Isabella Tree and Robert Macfarlane – an urgent and lyrical account of endangered places around the globe and the people fighting to save them

Highly Commended Finalist for the Wainwright Prize for Writing on Global Conservation

A Royal Geographical Society ‘Book of the Year 2020’

Shortlisted for the ASLE Book Prize 2021

A terrific book, prescient, serious and urgent with a careful appreciation of not only the places, creatures and people it brings to us, but also the language used to convey them. This book is an object of celebration and commemoration in itself” – Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun

“Powerful, timely, beautifully written and wonderfully hopeful… Julian Hoffman shines a light on what we had, what we have, and how much we still stand to lose” – Rob Cowen, author of Common Ground

“Unforgettable. Julian Hoffman presents a radical and revelatory perspective on our planet. At a time when the Earth often seems broken beyond repair, this courageous and hopeful book offers life-changing encounters with the more-than-human world” – Nancy Campbell, author of The Library of Ice

Wonderful, tender and subtle, beautifully written and filled with a calm authority… No book has done more to champion the idea that connections between the human and the natural are the lifeblood of everything that matters’ – Adam Nicolson, author of The Seabird’s Cry

All across the world, irreplaceable habitats are under threat. Unique ecosystems of plants and animals are being destroyed by human intervention. From the tiny to the vast, from marshland to meadow, and from Kent to Glasgow to India to America, they are disappearing.

Irreplaceable is not only a love letter to the haunting beauty of these landscapes and the wild species that call them home, including nightingales, lynxes, hornbills, redwoods and elephant seals, it is also a timely reminder of the vital connections between humans and nature, and all that we stand to lose in terms of wonder and wellbeing. This is a book about the power of resistance in an age of loss; a testament to the transformative possibilities that emerge when people come together to defend our most special places and wildlife from extinction.

Exploring treasured coral reefs and remote mountains, tropical jungle and ancient woodland, urban allotments and tallgrass prairie, Julian Hoffman traces the stories of threatened places around the globe through the voices of local communities and grassroots campaigners as well as professional ecologists and academics. And in the process, he asks what a deep emotional relationship with place offers us – culturally, socially and psychologically. In this rigorous, intimate and impassioned account, he presents a powerful call to arms in the face of unconscionable natural destruction. ~ Publishers description

“So if you read one book this year, make it Julian Hoffman’s Irreplaceable. I’m not going to dilute that statement with qualifiers (‘If you read one nonfiction book…’ or ‘If you like nature books…’). It’s too important a book to limit its audience in any way.” ~ Rebecca Foster, Shiny New Books

“The power of Hoffman’s book lies in the reporting: he doesn’t deal – as many environmentalists do – in generalities and alarmist warnings about what lies ahead for the world, but in the specifics of the here and now.” ~ Evening Standard Book of the Week

“If the pen really is mightier than the sword, then Julian Hoffman is a knight errant, looking for trouble, a champion of underdogs.” ~ Paul Evans, Caught by the River

“The book speaks to the most momentous questions of our time – questions of loss on a mass scale and human responses in the face of that loss. These questions are unavoidably difficult, and political, but Hoffman’s language of resistance is beautiful as it is necessary. He etches out the contours of fields and allotments and fenlands, as much as the various colours of hearts stubbornly tied to their protection.” ~ Amy Doffegnies, Kendal Mountain Festival Review

“A passionate and lyrical work of reportage and advocacy.” ~ Caspar Henderson, The Guardian

“Lyrical and hugely intelligent.” ~ Mark Cocker, The New Statesman

“A powerful, tender, inspiring clarion call to save the places that matter, right across the globe.” ~Nature’s Home, RSPB

“A powerful hymn to humanity engaging with nature…[a] remarkable, illuminating book.” ~ Paddy Woodworth, Irish Times

Irreplaceable is a compelling read, not least because Hoffman is a natural storyteller and these are incredible stories, both uplifting and tragic. Some of the passages verge towards the poetic end of the nature-writing spectrum and are imbued with an emotional intensity that reflects the challenges which the people whom he meets are facing, as they struggle to defend the nature and places they love. And this applies whether the stories are about allotments in Watford or corals in Indonesia: the people who care about the places, and the nature of those places, are the heroes. Their stories need to be told, so that more people can believe that change is possible.” ~ British Wildlife Magazine

“At a time of much stress on the natural world and on us humans, it is a welcome relief to read this exceptionally well-written book about extinction rebellions actually happening on the ground…In his profound exploration, Hoffman’s book is especially a testament to the tenacity of local people and groups whom he describes with much fondness as embodying that great motivating force wrought by strong connection to places.” ~ ECOS: Challenging Conservation

“This is a book about loss, yes, but it is also a book about hope. These stories show us what is possible when ordinary people—activists, researchers, birders, hunters, schoolteachers, schoolchildren—speak out to preserve and protect our most important places. They teach us that, together, we can resist loss. Irreplaceable is a beautiful and important piece of nature writing. It should be read and savored by everyone who loves wild places and wild things.” ~ Birding, magazine of the American Birding Association

“It’s an eloquent, sustained prose poem about the beauty and historical, cultural, and ecological attributes of special areas, and is evocative because of its gorgeous, passionate writing.” ~ Foreword Reviews


Irreplaceable can be purchased from all of your favourite independent bookshops, as well as from the following sites. The U.S. edition (pictured left) will be published on March 15th, 2020 by the University of Georgia Press. (UK)

Waterstones (UK)


Indiebound (US)

Hive (UK)

Blackwell’s (UK)

Guardian Bookshop (UK) (US)