Office—Environmental Desk, Telegraph Media Group, 111 Buckingham Palace Rd., London SW1W 0DT, England. Agent—Mulcahy & Viney, 15 Canning Passage, Kensington, London W8 5AA, England.
Daily Telegraph, London, England, environmental editor.
Commendation from André Simon Memorial Fund Book Awards, and the Derek Cooper Award for Investigative or Campaigning Food Writing, both 2005, both for The End of the Line.
(With Charles, Prince of Wales) Highgrove: An Experiment in Organic Gardening and Farming, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993, published in England as Highgrove, Portrait of an Estate, Chapmans Publishers (London, England), 1993.
The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat, Ebury (London, England), 2004, updated American edition, New Press (New York, NY), 2006.
Charles Clover is an environmental journalist and editor who has also published two books: Highgrove: An Experiment in Organic Gardening and Farming (published in England as Highgrove, Portrait of an Estate) and The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat. Highgrove was written in collaboration with Charles, Prince of Wales, and provides a history and description of Charles's estate in the Cotswolds. At Highgrove, Charles has conducted numerous experiments in organic agriculture, attempting to use the place as a model for environmentally friendly, productive farming methods. His interest in organic farming has drawn scorn from some, who consider him out-of-touch with the realities of commercial agriculture; others consider Charles's determination to further the cause of sustainable agriculture to be one of his strong points. Both failures and successes at Highgrove are documented in the book. Writing in Horticulture, Christopher Reed called the estate itself a "knockout" property and found the book "evocative." Evaluating Highgrove for the New York Times Book Review, Caroline Seebohm commented that it is "deeply boring" except to those readers interested in the intricacies of converting land to organic status; Seebohm further noted, however, that the author "puts in a plea for ecological sensitivity that is both politically correct and enthusiastically supported by much of the Western world."
In his next book, The End of the Line, Clover sounds an alarm about the state of the Earth's fish populations, which have been devastated by high-tech fishing methods that began in the mid-twentieth century and have become increasingly sophisticated since then. Using massive nets that sweep vast expanses of the ocean clean of all but the smallest living creatures, modern fishing fleets kill huge amounts of sea life needlessly and indiscriminately. To illustrate the impact these industrialized fishing fleets have, Clover likens them to giant bulldozers pulling a net across African habitats, scooping up lions, gazelles, giraffes, and every other type of animal, jumbling them together, tearing down trees and ruining grasslands, and then leaving the large, unwanted portion of dead animals out to rot. The main difference in these two scenarios, according to Clover, is that the carnage in the deep seas remains out of sight, and that people do not respond as compassionately to the fate of fish as they do to that of mammals. Clover reports the drastic drop in fish stocks throughout recent decades and predicts the collapse of entire ecosystems in the near future if drastic steps are not taken immediately. His book is "terrific, terrifying reporting," stated Neal Matthews in the San Diego Union Tribune. "It is a work of analytical brilliance, brutal honesty and universal interest. His conclusions are founded in the bedrock of fact, and his interpretations are refreshingly untainted by ideology, grandiose prose or overly commercial ambition." Matthews concluded: "Sure, this material has been covered before … but Clover's writing has a special clarity and focus that hits you in the gut." Another reviewer, Owen Paterson, stated in the Spectator that Clover's book is "unremittingly gloomy—even apocalyptic," yet he added that "there is much to commend," and credited the author with "admirably" bringing an important subject to the attention of the public.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
African Business, October, 2004, review of The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat, p. 62.
Booklist, October 1, 2006, Donna Seaman, review of The End of the Line, p. 9.
Caterer and Hotelkeeper, April 14, 2005, review of The End of the Line, p. 44.
Horticulture, January, 1994, Christopher Reed, review of Highgrove: An Experiment in Organic Gardening and Farming, p. 77.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2006, review of The End of the Line, p. 884.
Library Journal, December 1, 2006, Judith B. Barnett, review of The End of the Line, p. 156.
New York Times Book Review, December 5, 1993, Caroline Seebohm, review of Highgrove, p. 16.
OnEarth, winter, 2007, Carl Safina, review of The End of the Line, p. 38.
Publishers Weekly, October 4, 1993, review of Highgrove, p. 75; September 25, 2006, review of The End of the Line, p. 56.
San Diego Union Tribune, November 19, 2006, Neal Matthews, review of The End of the Line.
Spectator, July 31, 2004, Owen Paterson, review of The End of the Line, p. 31.