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4.8 out of 5 stars28
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 14 October 2013
Click buy, now! Why? Let this extract speak for itself. I know there are many passages concerning the eponymous and majestic Peregrine but this is a good example of how Baker can transform the mundane to something quite profound and revelatory:

'At midday I saw a fox, far out on the saltings, leaping and splashing through the incoming tide. On drier ground he walked; his fur was sleek and dark with wetness, his brush limp and dripping. He shook himself like a dog, sniffed the air, and trotted towards the sea-wall. Suddenly he stopped. Looking through binoculars, I saw the small pupils of his eyes contract and dilate in their white-flecked yellow irises. Eyes savagely alive, light smouldering within, yet glitteringly opaque as jewels. Their unchanging glare was fixed upon me as the fox walked slowly forward. When he stopped again, he was only ten yards away, and I lowered the binoculars. He stood there for more than a minute, trying to understand me with his nose and ears, watching me with his baffled, barbaric eyes. Then the breeze conveyed my fetid human smell, and the beautiful roan coloured savage became a hunted fox again, ducking and darting away, streaming over the sea-wall and across the long green fields beyond.'
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 March 2011
This book - which is really two books and a set of diary entries - posses a number of issues for the reader.

Firstly, you have to come to grips with the density of observation that is packed into each page. If you persist in the belief that the books are "literally" true - i.e. all that is recorded was seen in a single winter - then you may struggle with this. However, if you give the author the latitude to compress 10 years into a single one for the sake of narrative then you will have no problems.

Secondly, if you are anything like me, you will have to dedicate more time to this book then you expect. It is so beautifully written that you will want to tarry over many of the sentences and turns of phrase. The two books - `The Peregrine' and `The Hills of Summer' run to a little over 265 pages of smallish type. Time and again I found myself going back a few pages to re-read sections.

The third issue you may have to deal with is downright jealousy at the things the author saw and his ability to describe them. His ability to describe what he sees is remarkable.

Some people have challenged the authenticity of some of the things that are recorded in this book - Peregrines hovering and feeding on worms are examples of observations that have been challenged - but that does not detract from the elegance of the prose or the sense of place that he manages to generate.

The addition of the diaries to his published work is beneficial in two ways. Its gives the reader a greater window into the way Baker viewed the world, but it also shows that the published books are not simple fragmented chronological (The Peregrine) or habitat based (The Hills of Summer) accounts. The diaries read like diaries - but the books seem to have both a coherence and rhythm of their own. `The Peregrine' actually feels like it comes to a conclusion, rather than just finishes - this is not the case (nor obviously the intention) of the diaries, but it does show how different they are.

This is a splendid book which I cannot recommend highly enough.
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on 20 March 2014
Quite literally one of the greatest books ever written. Singular, vivid, wild and unsettling. Whether you like nature writing or not, if you like writing you will love The Peregrine
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on 18 April 2014
In 1967 when I was 13 I read this book and it changed my life. I now read it once a year. I have various hard copies and now I have the kindle version. I would recommend it highly. If you are not that interested in scientific side of birds miss out the first chapter and go straight to the diary its like one huge long poetic work.
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on 31 May 2010
'The Peregrine' has become something of a landmark book for me. When I was young (like 10 - 16) I had a real obsession with birds, and in particular birds of prey. This book does not just describe the bird and it's world - but reveals something of that feeling of wanting to enter it which anyone who has loved birds will know.

Recently I've picked up the binoculars and headed out into the countryside again - this book is largely responsible for that, and I think it must be the best nature writing which can rekindle that love of wild things.
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on 8 March 2014
A real treat of a book - beautifully written prose and a lovely story of peregrines in Britain. Buy it and enjoy!
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on 4 July 2013
I love this book. I purchased it after reading the reviews for it and after watching a BBC programme about Essex and it's wildlife which mentioned this book. Being an Essex native and proud of it! I had to buy this and have not been dissapointed. Beautifully written.
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on 8 September 2010
An excellent book that lives up to all the reviews I have read. I have been enthralled reading this book, which at times is almost poetic. Rightfully regarded as a classic.
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on 17 March 2012
The Peregrine is a superb book, having read the book previously in paperback I was keen to re-read it on Kindle. Unfortunately the ebook has numerous very irritating typos which spoil the poetry and flow of this book. It was not cheap and I am disappointed in this lazy editing. Would recommend you read this book in print.
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on 2 December 2015
Absolutely fantastic - although I found it did take me a while longer to read than normal - the writing is so in depth that it requires some consideration and can't be just "flicked" through. The images the author portrays through his writing are compellingly beautiful - just wish I'd read it a long time ago!
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