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When They Severed Earth from Sky
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This Strange WildernessThis Strange Wilderness

The Life and Art of John James Audubon

Nancy Plain


Book published by University of Nebraska Press


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 America depicts almost five hundred North American bird species, each image—lifelike and life size—rendered 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 fame.

In 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.

Nancy Plain is the author of numerous children’s books, including Light on the Prairie: Solomon D. Butcher, Photographer of Nebraska’s Pioneer Days, winner of the Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction, the Nebraska Book Award for Youth Nonfiction and the Will Rogers Medallion Award.

REVIEWS:

“Plain chronicles Audubon's adventurous life in a succinct, absorbing narrative that is well researched, meticulously documented, and beautifully written.... This biography offers a vivid introduction to Audubon's life and work.”

Booklist

“Like Audubon's paintings, this volume 'glow[s] with life.' A superb introduction to the life and times of a great American artist and naturalist.”

Kirkus

“Nancy Plain provides readers of all ages a concise introduction to the naturalist's prophetic role in the establishment of the American conservation movement.”

True West





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