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This Strange Wilderness [Download] ➻ This Strange Wilderness ➼ Nancy Plain – Birds were “the objects of my greatest delight” wrote John James Audubon 1785–1851 founder of modern ornithology and one of the world’s greatest bird painters His masterpiece The Birds of Amer Birds were “the objects of my greatest delight” wrote John James Audubon – founder of modern ornithology and one of the world’s greatest bird painters His masterpiece The Birds of America depicts almost five hundred North American bird species each image—lifelike and life size—rendered This Strange PDF or in vibrant color Audubon was also an explorer a woodsman a hunter an entertaining and prolific writer and an energetic self promoter Through talent and dogged determination he rose from backwoods obscurity to international fameIn This Strange Wilderness award winning author Nancy Plain brings together the amazing story of this American icon’s career and the beautiful images that are his legacy Before Audubon no one had seen drawn or written so much about the animals of this largely uncharted young country Aware that the wilderness and its wildlife were changing even as he watched Audubon remained committed almost to the end of his life “to search out the things which have been hidden since the creation of this wondrous world” This Strange Wilderness details his art and writing transporting the reader back to the frontiers of early nineteenth century America.

10 thoughts on “This Strange Wilderness

  1. Barb Middleton Barb Middleton says:

    I couldn't put down this 90 page book that chronicles the adventurous life of John James Audubon as he compiled his famous book Birds of America published in England in 1827 Nancy Plain shows his passion for nature and unusual self taught artistry that helped him create uniue pictures that not only showed birds in movement but also in their habitat Anecdotes hardships and adventures made this a page turner Audubon's labeled paintings are spread throughout the book and accompany stories adding strength to the text Audubon's scientific accuracy combined with art and his experimentation with mixed media gave his pictures a photographic uality something no other ornithologists were doing at the timeAudubon got married and started a business until bad investments led him to live a life of struggle to make ends meet His wife Lucy made money as a teacher and when Audubon wanted to pick up and leave to go collect his bird specimens Lucy stayed in one place raising their two young boys providing the family some economic stability Audubon periodically roamed and when he was shutout from the publishing world in the United States he went to Europe to market his idea for a book that contained 500 bird species he had collected over decades He was hugely successful but was away from his family for three years putting a strain on relationships and missing out on a chunk of his boys childhood Eventually he made it home and the family started a business that combined his artistic ability with the skills of his wife and sonsLewis and Clark had recently finished exploring the interior of the United States and westward expansion was beginning when Audubon first came to the US He was avoiding Bonaparte's draft in France where he was born to a well off seaman and step mom Audubon was an explorer who traveled all over the US creating honing his uniue talent He said that he killed 100 birds a day at one point to study them He also didn't give credit to another artist that did the flowers in his paintings The author shows Audubon as a flawed human being that cared deeply about his family and nature and who predicted the extinction of the passenger pigeon Carolina parakeet and the almost extinction of the buffalo He recognized the need for restraint in hunting even though his own killing seemed excessive This contradiction would make for good discussions in a book club

  2. Elizabeth☮ Elizabeth☮ says:

    I teach an excerpt from Audobon's Ornithological Biography Volume 1 so when I came across this at the library I picked it up to get a snapshot of his life's workThis is aimed at younger readers but I found it had just enough to satisfy my curiosity about John James Audobon He nearly went broke to create what would become his magnum opus which chronicled for the first time over 400 species of birds in America He traveled far and wide in his efforts There are many interesting facts but I found that he had to go to Europe to publish his book the most interesting This has nice illustrations that highlight Audobon's talent I'm glad I picked it up I feel the background knowledge will help me teach the excerpt much better now

  3. Monty Monty says:

    This Strange Wilderness is one of the best compact and concise biographies available on John James Audubon Award winning author Nancy Plain has blended a wonderfully interesting prose narrative with the original illustrations of Audubon to create a book that will be enjoyed by children ages 12 and up and adults alike Audubon comes alive as a remarkable man who was an artist and explorer but who was embarrassed by the title of naturalist or ornithologist bestowed upon him by many of his peers He was the first artist to pose birds and other wildlife in lifelike poses and to use mixed media watercolor oils pastel pencil ink to achieve the specific realistic depictions he desired Audubon was not flawless as his short temper is described as well as the fact that his apprentice and foliage painter Joseph Mason did not get the credit he was due He also had great difficulty in being accepted in America as a few scientific hecklers attacked his theories writings and did their best to defame him at home and abroad This fascinating story of the crossroads where science and art intersect is masterfully done in concise but lively prose

  4. Erin Erin says:

    Not sure who the audience is for this but I sure enjoyed it The illustrations are gorgeous and Audubon's life is fascinating

  5. Jackson Matthews Jackson Matthews says:

    Plain clear beautiful writing and the loveliest pictures For a research project but I will want to read this again slowly for pleasure

  6. Stuart Stuart says:

    One could argue that no one loved birds than John James Audubon He devoted his life to discovering and painting every North American species of birds The book This Strange Wilderness is a biography of Audubon and also includes some of his artwork which is stunning if you have never seen it The book begins with Audubon's birth in Haiti and the death of his mother he never knew His father a French sea captain and plantation owner took him back to France where he and his wife Anne raised James and his half sister Rose James' father was responsible for his love of birds and his passion for illustrating them Audubon was never happy with his drawings He was so disappointed with them that he burned the drawings every year on his birthday with a vow to do betterThe book then chronicles the horrors in France including the French Revolution and Audubon's engineered escape to America It was here where Audubon met his wife He had three children by her two boys and a girl who died at a very early age Audubon had several failed business ventures and contributed much to the study of bird migration ornithology and taxonomy while attempting to provide for his family in these business ventures that failed There are times in this book that Audubon didn't come off as a particularly great husband or father as he left his wife albeit with her blessing to pursue his lifelong ambition of finding painting and cataloging every bird in North America The book continues to trace Audubon's journey across America and his keen insight into birds and sadly their eventual extinctionReading through this book felt like reading a story not a dry biography The Audubon uotes demonstrated both his intelligence and his personality The book also is full of photographs of the Audubons and Audubon's beautiful paintings I also learned a lot about Audubon that I never knew such as his early childhood and the fact that he drew mammals after he completed his book of birds This was a fascinating read and one that I would recommend for middle school and up It contains a nice blend of science and history and would also make an excellent book for the homeschooling crowd

  7. Chelsey Chelsey says:

    Fascinated by the great wilderness John James Audubon led a life of adventure His desire to become the top ornithologist in America pushed him to travel across the country observing cataloging and drawing hundreds of birdsThis was a uick easy engaging read Coming to the table knowing nothing about Audubon other than his name I was uickly drawn in to this biography by Audubon's own artwork and Nancy Plain's storytelling It was also refreshing to read such an upbeat title after reading a lot of dark stories on the 2016 Hub Challenge

  8. Amy Amy says:

    2016 YALSA FinalistInteresting I learned a lot than I knew about this man For the most part he was a traveling starving artist Also he was successful in England Europe before he was in the United States Still his drawings are extraordinaryAnother interesting piece that I learned While Audubon the man was interested in COLLECTING birds the Audubon Society is dedicated to PROTECTING PRESERVING them

  9. Vernon Area Public Library KIDS Vernon Area Public Library KIDS says:

    This wonderful biography discusses John James Audubon's life which is uite spectacular adventurous and impressive He spent over 30 years of his life working on The Birds of America going from rich to very poor to reviled to extremely famous and respected He was alive in an incredible time of change and expansion and witnessed it all Really engaging readReviewed by Julia Pyatetsky Youth Services Vernon Area Public Library

  10. Chris Enss Chris Enss says:

    Nancy Plain's books never fail to entertain She's a uality author and the research she does on the subjects she writes about are first rate

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