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Birds of America [Hardcover]

John James Audubon , Roger Tory Peterson , Virginia Marie Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 July 1993
This marvelous edition of Audubon's Birds of America displays all 435 of Audubon's brilliant handcolored engravings in exquisite reproductions taken from the original plates of the Audubon Society's archival copy of the rare Double Elephant Folio. Although many attempts have been made to re-create the magnificent illustrations in Audubon's masterpiece, nothing equals the level of fidelity or scale achieved in this high-quality edition. Organized and annotated by Roger Tory Peterson, AmericaGCOs best-known ornithologist, and issued with the full endorsement and cooperation of the Audubon Society, this magnificent volume is as thorough in scientific classification as it is beautiful. Peterson's fascinating introduction places Audubon in the context of the history of American ornithological art and also reproduces a wide sampling of the work of Audubon's notable predecessors and disciples, including Peterson's own justly famous paintings. This new systematic arrangement of the prints, complete with informative commentaries about each bird, made it possible to correct many of the problems or errors in Audubon's original edition revealed by later scholarship. The colorful captions in the back provide fascinating commentaries on each featured bird.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 694 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.; Rev Ed edition (12 July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558591281
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558591288
  • Product Dimensions: 40.4 x 30.7 x 8.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 985,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audubon's Birds 7 Aug 2010
This is a beautiful book, the pictures are magnificent, and the information on the birds has been updated. Even Charles Darwin makes reference to Audubon. Like Buffon's "All the Worlds Birds", this is a very large and heavy book, and I would not like to choose between the two. I spend many happy hours looking through these books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning 12 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What a superb book. Beautifully produced in high quality paper, with full page double and single spreads, interspersed with information about the pictures. The book then fits into a sturdy cardboard slip case which is a part of the book cover, so that the spine perfectly continues the cover of the case. Very heavy at 8kg but you feel you have your money's worth. If you're ever in Henderson, Kentucky, also try and visit the fantastic Audubon Museum where many of the originals are housed and where we first saw this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars american birds 11 Mar 2014
This magnificent book is not for carrying around as it weighs 14lb.
This edition differs from previous ones,that go back to 1827,as the birds have been reorganised in phylogenic order,scientific and common names brought up to date and any errors corrected.
The birds are divided into 11 groups all illustrated by 435 plates in outstanding colour-it is a pity some of the plates cover 2 pages. Before every group there are notes on each of the birds illustrated while the introduction includes some of the paintings of other well known American artists.
A 10 star book and highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baby Elephant Folio 23 Feb 2012
By Audubon Collector - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In addition to the Baby Elephant Folio I recently purchsed the Birds of America by Sterling Publishing (from London Museum of Natural History). Had I purchased the Baby Elephant Folio in 1996 when it was first published I would have given it an "A+". However, the book is already 15 to 30 years old (depending on Edition) and I suppose that printing/reproduction has come a long way. I can only give the Baby Elephant Folio the grade of "B" today.

The colors are not true to the Havell prints in many, many prints. While they may have been adequate for the time, many prints appear washed-out and pale in color and there is consistent throuble throughout the volume of producing accurate wood colors and textures. Yellow warblers are orange. In some places the color is thin enough to see white (of the paper).

The layout is good and a lot of thought went into placing birds with similar backgrounds on opposing pages. Some prints are double-wide but this is of little consequence since the binding doesn't allow a clear view of the entire print (some part of the print is always tucked-away in the center of the book).

The Sterling publication, on the other hand, has superb clarity and color. The tree bark textures are crisp and are more faithful reproductions of the Havell prints. Additionally, the colors appear deep as though they were hand colored. The aquatinted tones (gradation white-grey-black)) are superb and makes the grey birds look tremendous. In the Baby elephant Folio such gradations in color appear grainy and uneven.

I am happy to own both and the Baby Elephant Folio brings larger prints and more descriptive text to the table. But to truly appreciate the original Audubon prints I would seek a copy of Sterling's Birds of America before the Baby Elephant Folio.

Birds of America
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful volume of audubon 16 July 2004
By Birder Lover "Steve" - Published on Amazon.com
If you are a birder and you collect all the great bird books, your collection is not complete until you get this. A beautiful book, contained in a hard case, with excellent printing. A steal at $250 at its original price, now knocked down between $125 to $185. Get this book! A great tribute to Peterson and Audubon.
65 of 88 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why reorganize a symphony? 30 Nov 2004
By Don - Published on Amazon.com
Let me qualify my remarks by first saying that I have not even seen this version. I have no doubt that the printing is of the highest quality, but I have a serious reservation about the organization of this book. Audubon deliberately mixed his birds in a non-taxonomic order to maintain a freshness and an element of suprise. I recently acquired a large format copy published by Welcome Rain, which follows Audubon's original order. The effect is a delightful romp through nature, full of suprises, drama and movement. He never intended it to be a catalog with all his ducks in a row, it was to be an experience. I have seen an abridged, small format edition of his paintings arranged in the standard, dull taxonomic order of a typical field guide and the effect is nothing like seeing them in the order Audubon intended. Rearranging the plates for convenience of listers diminishes this work, and to a certain extent, is a disservice to the artist. While I am happy to see that his work remains in print and is being reproduced at very high standards, I would hope that it would be viewed as a symphony, not as a random collection of notes needing to be organized alphabetically.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular 2 Aug 2005
By John Smith - Published on Amazon.com
This book is spectacular. The images are breathtaking, and the quality of their presentation is nothing short of superb. Wow!!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Family Heirloom 2 April 2011
By Mr. Burke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We keep this beautiful book open on a fine antique table in the foyer of our home. Every few days someone will change the page to a new, breath-taking piece of art. This is an American masterpiece and by far the most beautiful and affordable collection accessible to most people. It comes with a very stout slip case and dustjacket. The book is well constructed and I expect it to last a lifetime.
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