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This unprecedented anthology of John James Audubon’s lively and colorful writings about the American wilderness reintroduces the great artist and ornithologist as an exceptional American writer, a predecessor to Thoreau, Emerson, and Melville.
Audubon’s award-winning biographer, Richard Rhodes, has gathered excerpts from his journals, letters, and published works, and has organized them to appeal to general readers. Rhodes’s unobtrusive commentary frames a wide range of selections, including Audubon’s vivid “bird biographies,” correspondence with his devoted wife, Lucy, journal accounts of dramatic river journeys and hunting trips with the Shawnee and Osage Indians, and a generous sampling of brief narrative episodes that have long been out of print—engaging stories of pioneer life such as "The Great Pine Swamp," “The Earthquake,” and “Kentucky Barbecue on the Fourth of July.” Full-color reproductions of sixteen of Audubon’s stunning watercolor illustrations accompany the text.
The Audubon Reader allows us to experience Audubon’s distinctive voice directly and provides a window into his electrifying encounter with early America: with its wildlife and birds, its people, and its primordial wilderness.