Roger Tory Peterson the Renaissance man who taught Americans the joy of watching birds also invented the modern field guide. His 1934 landmark Field Guide to the Birds was the first book designed to go outdoors and help people identify the elements of nature. This self-proclaimed student of nature combined spectacular writing with detailed illustrations to ultimately publish many other books, winning every possible award and medal for natural science, ornithology, and conservation. Peterson also traveled the world, giving lectures on behalf of the National Audubon Society and, despite his self-effacing demeanor, becoming recognized as the key force to alerting the public to the importance of preserving nature. There are now an estimated 70 million birdwatchers in the United States. For this meticulously detailed biography, Rosenthal has interviewed more than a hundred of Peterson's family, friends, and associates to create a fully rounded portrait of this hero of the conservation movement. Never-before-seen photographs enhance this intimate portrayal.
About the Author
Rosenthal is a freelance writer who has written for two Elton John fanzines, East End Lights and Hercules.
"A wonderful biography, bold and surprising and lively, crackling with the adventures of the man who did more than anyone else to create the modern popularity of birdwatching."
-Kenn Kaufman, author of The Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America "Birdwatcher is biographical alchemy, blending well researched detail, rich and varied anecdotes, and Roger in the first person with a writer's insight into the man who was, and remains, first among 'students of birds.'"
-Pete Dunne, Vice President, New Jersey Audubon Society "Birdwatcher brings laughter, tears, profound admiration, and warm memories. To read it was to have Roger once again sitting in our kitchen, telling great tales, and every reader will feel that way too."
-Clay and Pat Sutton, authors of Birds and Birding at Cape May
"A brilliant, definitive biography of the man who made birdwatching the leading outdoor recreation in America."
-George H. Harrison, nature journalist, author, PBS producer "Birdwatcher is more than a window into the life and creative process of one of the world's great ornithologists and artists-it's an exploration, through the words and memories of dozens of people who knew Roger Tory Peterson best, of how this remarkable man changed the conservation landscape for the better, and for good."
-Scott Weidensaul, author of Return to Wild America
"Through interviews with more than a hundred of Peterson's colleagues and protégés, Rosenthal weaves an entertaining biography that helps us understand why Peterson ranks among the world's most celebrated naturalists."
-Stephen W. Kress, Director, Audubon Seabird Restoration Program
"With verve and elegance Elizabeth Rosenthal paints the life of our most important naturalist with all the field marks filled in and life ways fleshed out."
-Robert Michael Pyle, author of Sky Time in Gray's River
"This fine biography breaks much new ground and contains abundant orginal material. . . . Peterson is one of those compelling figures for whom there cannot be too many biographies and tributes. Rosenthal's may be the best so far." -Bird Watcher's Digest
"Elizabeth J. Rosenthal has provided the most detailed account of his three marriages, driven work habits, and strenuous activities as explorer, author, photographer, conservationist, and public figure." -New York Review of Books
"An affectionate look at the person who became known as the Audubon of the 20th century." -Town & Country