* A Rough Trade, Mojo and Evening Standard Book of the Year * 'Peerless cultural history.' Ian Thomson, Evening Standard 'Original.' Guardian 'Fascinating.' Mail On Sunday 'Exceptional.' Irish Times Over the course of the twentieth century, The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams is the piece of music that has come to define the mythical concept of the English countryside, with its babbling brooks and skylarks. Yet, the landscape is not really an unaffected utopia, but a living, working and occasionally rancorous environment that has forged a nation's musical personality. On a journey that takes us from post-war poets and artists to the free party scene embraced by the acid house and travelling communities, Richard King explores how Britain's history and identity have been shaped by the mysterious relationship between music and nature.