Somewhere in my busy summer, I found time to read this recent tome, A History of the Garden in Fifty Tools, by Bill Laws. I actually paid full price for this recent release (February, 2014), rather than my usual modus operandi of browsing the used book shops for garden reads. I tend to like to read about gardening tools and their variations, and I was pretty excited to get hold of it.
In A History of the Garden in Fifty Tools, Bill Laws covers the history of just about every garden tool you can imagine and some that you probably didn't know about. The history and information presented about each tool was interesting, and Laws covered the development of most of his chosen tools from the Stone Age to modern times. The tools are organized into 5 chapters, the flower garden, kitchen garden, orchard, lawn, and ornamental garden, which sometimes made me feel that some tools were a bit misplaced in order because I use some differently than Laws placed them. I also have to admit that I was disappointed by the time I finished Fifty Tools. I think my biggest issue is that the info was dryly presented and began to drag a bit for me a bit as I got used to the format. I'll tell you this, I didn't count them, but by the time you finish the book, you'll think you've read about more than 50 tools.
I confess that I had built up a lot of anticipation for this book, and to give the author the benefit of doubt, perhaps the problem lies with me, rather than the reading material. I just never got into it; reading page after page like it was material from a textbook, rather than a summer novel. It's one of those books I finished, but I struggled to maintain interest, somewhat like I've done in the past with long Stephan King novels. By the time I'm too far in to quit, I'm thinking, "God, just let me get it over." If you're just nuts on garden tools, you may like this book, but my suggestion first would be to read Tools of the Earth by Jeff Taylor and Rich Iwasaki. I read the latter years ago and it is so good that I will probably read it again soon.