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Looking for the Goshawk [Kindle Edition]

Conor Mark Jameson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The book traces Conor Jameson's travels in search of the Goshawk, a magnificent yet rarely seen (in Britain at least) raptor. Each episode of the narrative arises from personal experience, investigation, and the unearthing of
information from research, exploration and conversations.

The journey takes him from an encounter with a stuffed Goshawk in a glass case, through travels into supposed Goshawk territories in Britain, to Berlin - where he finds the bird at ease in the city. Why, he wants to know, is the bird so rarely seen in Britain? He explores the politics of birdwatching, the sport of falconry and the impact of persecution on the recent history of the bird in Britain and travels the length of Britain, through central Europe and the USA in search of answers to the goshawk mystery. Throughout his journey he is inspired by the writings of T H White who told of his attempts to tame a Goshawk in his much-loved book.

It's a gripping tale on the trail of a most mysterious and charismatic bird.

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'Conor Jameson's new book looks at man's role in first eliminating the Goshawk from the landscape, and then reintroducing it, and at what this says about our relationship with the natural world.

The very uncertainty inherent in the search for the bird makes it a thoroughly engrossing, sometimes even tense, read, with his travels around the UK being mixed with disappointments and surprises in equal measure.

Jameson brings the same personal slant to the subject that he used in the excellent Silent Spring Revisited, but it's mixed with plenty of hard science too.

I read the book just days before flying to Berlin, so the chapter on the city, whose parks hold a thriving population of Goshawks, was a particular favourite, but it's a great book to dip into for inspiration any time you own personal Goshawk quest starts to feel like a lost cause.' --Matt Merritt, Editor, Birdwatching magazine, April 2013

'I liked Conor's previous book, but I like this one even more. Whereas in Silent Spring Revisited Conor lived through the events described but seemed, to me, to be a little detached from them, this is a book where he describes what he did, and where he went, to get to grips better with a magnificent but elusive bird.

He takes us to Berlin, Cornell, Bedfordshire, the Peak District and many other places on the trail of goshawks and those who admire, watch and protect this bird. We are accompanied, on parts of the journey, by TH White, William Henry Hudson, William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill, and many other famous and erudite folk, but also by a bunch of Conor's colleagues at the RSPB (where he works). I've rarely seen a goshawk. That's not an unusual experience - or lack of an experience. They are not that common, but even where they are present they show themselves with more discretion than do, say, kites or buzzards. There may be goshawks near you but you may not realise they are there.

As far as this book is concerned, you don't need to have seen a goshawk to enjoy it. You don't even need to want to see a goshawk to enjoy it. Conor's cultured writing and enthusiasm for the natural world and the people, like him, who care about it, will carry you along through the chapters.' --Mark Avery, 16/05/2013

About the Author

Conor Jameson works for the RSPB and has contributed to numerous wildlife magazines including the RSPB's Birds magazine and BBC Wildlife. In 2010 he won the BBC Wildlife Nature Writer of the Year award with his article, Phantom about an encounter with a Goshawk in Berlin. His first book Silent Spring Revisited was published by Bloomsbury in spring 2012.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where was the editor? 10 Oct. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A book with lots of stuff about the Goshawk has got to be interesting, and this held my attention well, but ultimately I recall the many irritations more than anything else. On coming to the end of the last page my reaction was mainly satisfaction that I had not paid the cover price for the book, rather than regret that the journey was over.

On the credit side: the narrative is mainly engaging; some good information about the life of wild Goshawks is provided; the experience of being in Goshawk habitats is at times nicely evoked; there is a decent index and a bibliography: the chapter-heading vignettes are pleasant, as is the cover sketch. The author stresses persecution associated with game-shooting interests as a constraint on Goshawk populations in the UK.

On the debit side - where to start? The cover price is absurdly high for a book with merely adequate production values. It looks as though the final draft text went straight from the author's computer to the page with minimal input from designer or editor (no specific mention of editorial help in the long Acknowledgements). A good editor would have made the book half as long but twice as good. There is much repetition and even more irrelevant material (I would have preferred to learn much more about the Goshawk and much less about the author's life history and the names of all his friends). Some early passages where the author slips into generic 'nature writing' style are effective, but this soon begins to pall.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 17 Oct. 2013
By Millsey
I found Looking For The Goshawk to be a compelling, fascinating, entertaining and informative read. I was hooked on Conor's adventure and rooting for him at every turn in his quest. His determination is admirable and you can't help but turn the page to find out whether those elusive birds will make an appearance.

It's well written and very accessible, whether you have a fully fledged interest in goshawks or as a casual reader (me). Though I'm no expert, or even a 'serious' birder, I learned a lot and become a tiny bit obsessed with seeing a goshawk some day for myself.

Living locally to the area, I found the search in Bedfordshire to be particularly fascinating, and found myself trying to work out the locations he describes so well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine book about a magnificent bird 16 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The goshawk is without doubt our most elusive and mysterious bird of prey - rarely seen apart from occasionally in spring when they display above our woods and forests. So it's great to have a book that digs deep into the details of its life, written by an author with far more persistence and dedication that I could ever muster. Like many modern nature books it is written in the 'present historic' - giving a vivid sense of the quest to encounter the goshawk. Some people find this hard going, but I believe it does, in the right hands, bring an immediacy to the writing - and if it's good enough for Hilary Mantel... Conor Jameson combines a fine writing style with a depth of knowledge and sense of place - I look forward to his next book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
What a great read! Natural History books are normally ones I dip in and out of but I read this like a novel - in 5 days. It is beautifully written and I am now desperate to see a goshawk! Conor's journey was fascinating and the more so as he was looking for the nature and soul of the bird, about where it lives and why it doesn't live in other places, as much as just wanting to see one. This has definitely inspired me to read his other books.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down 17 April 2013
I started reading this book on Friday evening and had finished it by Sunday evening. I've always been interested in goshawks since seeing them in Sweden, and a falconer friend's bird a few years ago. Jameson's story has a really strong plot line - more so than a lot of nature writing. I really enjoyed the historic aspects of the story and there's a strong pull from one chapter to the next. If you like birds of prey and a bit of history too, you'll love this book. It's a really interesting mix of story, science and history. I;ll be reading The Goshawk, by T H White next. Full marks from me!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I felt the book, like many nature writing books in my view, was a little too long. The author is not just a hawk man but works to conserve all bird species, and at times his love for all birds and his conservation work, coupled with the diary format of the book, lead him to occasionally describe encounters not directly related to goshawks, which although interesting in their own right, slow down the ongoing narrative. But these are minor criticisms.

Reading T.H. White's brilliant book 'The Goshawk' started my lifelong obsession with hawks, and I found the T.H. White thread of 'Looking for the Goshawk' particularly engaging; at one point the author meets someone who as a child in the 1930's trailed a dead rabbit on a string for White's goshawk to chase. I have seen austringers fly their goshawks, and one summer I took care of a moulting goshawk, and I found the author's difficult search for the wild goshawk captivating and thought it caught the essence of the nature of this elusive, intriguing hawk. The author is an expert bird watcher and I admired his honest admissions of how difficult it is to confirm a sighting of a goshawk. Only yesterday I saw what I assumed to be a sparrowhawk, yet it looked so big without anything to compare it with in the sky, I still wonder if it was a male goshawk. It is the author's honesty, occasional doubts and speculations which make the book so authentic. One of his speculations about there being both bold and timid individuals within a species was backed up by recent research in the 'New Scientist', which considered the evolutionary advantages of such contrasting natures. For over fifty years I've read about falcons and hawks; their high esteem in medieval times; their fall from grace and destruction; their gradual return.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What a marvellous book
I loved this book, and have been telling fellow birding enthusiasts about it ever since reading it quite recently. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Miss C Benians
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book to get lost in
Lovely book . The author sets the scene well and helps you to understand the Goshawk and its place in nature .Well written and was sorry i finished it .
Published 7 months ago by P. W. JOHNSTONE
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautifully, clearly written and worth reading again and again.
Published 9 months ago by Rosie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It was a gift but I think he really enjoyed it
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. B. Dance
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking for the Goshawk
I enjoyed reading this though I was surprised how difficult Conor Jameson found it to see a Goshawk in England as I see one regularly. Read more
Published 16 months ago by TW
5.0 out of 5 stars A passion for a bird
A beautifully written account by someone almost obsessively consumed by the goshawk, yet always human, always interesting. His passion is infectious.
Published 17 months ago by Robin Harger
5.0 out of 5 stars Book search
It was better than I had expected. could not put it down. Thank you.A very competitive price. Will shop with you again.
Published 19 months ago by Michael Biggs
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed reading and will certainly recommend.
Loads of little known facts about an iconic raptor and a really enjoyable read. Highly recommended. Reminded me of hours spent by myself looking for Gos.
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational: Wild Nature on your Doorstep
Conor Jameson's new book, following on from the excellent "Silent Spring Revisited", is an inspiring read about one man's quest to uncover the truth behind the sad disappearance... Read more
Published on 15 July 2013 by DonalMcC
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