By Elizabeth J Rosenthal | Lyons Press | Paperback | March 2010 | Reprint 2015 | 437 Pages | Colour Plates | ISBN: 9781599219622
The Publisher’s View: A biography of the man behind the “Peterson Field Guide” series, which has taught millions about virtually all aspects of nature. Peterson combined fine writing with detailed and beautifully rendered illustrations, winning virtually every award and medal for natural science, ornithology, and conservation. Before long, he became the birding and natural history guru to the world and was recognized as the key force in alerting the public to the importance of preserving nature.
For this meticulously detailed biography, author Elizabeth J. Rosenthal has created a fully rounded portrait of this hero of the conservation movement. Never-before-seen photographs enhance this intimate portrayal, which will be welcomed by Peterson’s enormous following.
Other Views: “[…] Birdwatcher is a well-written and enjoyable look at the life of the most famous birder in history. After reading this biography, I certainly know much more about Roger Tory Peterson’s life and accomplishments. But what’s more, I feel like I got to know the man himself. If you would like to do the same, this book is a great way to do so.”
– Grant McCreary (29-05-2008), read the full review at The Birder’s Library
“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, New Jersey Audubon Birding Ambassador)
“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
“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
The Author: Elizabeth J. Rosenthal was born in New York City and grew up in the outer boroughs and then the suburbs, but left the area as an adult. She still has a strong, emotional attachment to her city of birth. It may sound odd, but for her, a spring breeze, the sight of fire escapes on aging apartment buildings, or the aroma of a sizzling grilled-cheese sandwich may excite nostalgic images – the end of a long school year, the approach of home after a long day out, or a meal at the local luncheonette, replete with art deco counter and stools.
In the third grade, Rosenthal discovered that she loved to write. New “vocabulary words” were an excuse for her to compose long sentences and longer stories. In high school, she edited the school paper, which eventually led to the pursuit of a journalism degree. After graduating magna cum laude in 1982 from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, she attended Rutgers-Camden School of Law, graduating with Honors in 1985. Subsequently, she was admitted to the bars of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 1986, she married Stanley Shur, another Rutgers law graduate. A long-time legal liaison for the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, she retired on July 1, 2015 and plans to continue writing from home.
Fatbirder View: This is a second bite at the cherry… as the paperback was reprinted recently so you once again have a chance to get to know one of the most famous birdwatchers of all, a consummate artist who probably did more than anyone to popularise birdwatching both sides of the Atlantic. In my opinion you should grab this opportunity as he was not just a famous birder he was a deeply complex and contradictory man.
That’s what I liked most about this biography… true its very comprehensive and intensely researched, but it’s the ‘warts and all’ treatment that neither sensationalises nor excuses his shortcomings as a man and is not blinded by his greatness as an ornithologist.
Its long, deep and very satisfying read which will tell you a great deal about a man, his art and leisure and the times he lived through.
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