- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Around the World With 1000 Birds Paperback – 1 Jun 2002
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
Russell Boyman has had a number of articles published in wildlife magazines and travel journals, and heconsistently deliverslectures on his birding adventures."
Top customer reviews
A potentially good book ruined by the author`s misguided belief that we care about his sex life.
By his own admission Boyman is a male hunter-gatherer. The birds on his list are merely 'mopped up' and 'polished off'. He thinks Darwin's Galapagos finches are 'boring' and in the Amazon he makes a telling distinction between the loud, gaudy birds which occupy the tree canopy which fascinate (a word he overuses) him and the skulking drab birds which inhabit the forest floor. Women receive similar categorisation. The brash buxom blonde at the bar is worthy of his attention, but his Australian buddy's demure catholic wife holds little appeal. He overstays his welcome with her, falls out with a former old-flame travelling companion in New Zealand and is disappointed when the Thai girl he beds starts emailing him for money. In fact he repeatedly 'fails to gel' with any of the travelling parties he joins. Above all, it his racism and secure sense of his own superiority as a 'Westerner' that are most offensive. There are repeated references to the 'Third World' and he agrees with his companion's observation that India would be a great country if it wasn't for the bloody Indians!
The publisher claims its books are about 'ordinary people doing extraordinary things'. There is nothing particularly extraordinary about jet-setting around the world, staying in luxury hotels and waving wads of cash at local guides and porters whilst referring to their compatriots as 'ragamuffins', 'urchins', 'winos' and 'hookers'.
Perhaps the most effective self-portrait Boyman paints is left to his final pages. Back home alone in his flat, fallen on comparatively hard times, hurt that none of his mates is as interested in his travels as he is (in fact they turn out to be not such good mates at all once he no longer attracts lucrative business clients), still at odds with his ex-wife, still unable to connect with his son, his 'part-time' girlfriend has left him, typing the manuscript which will become this book on his laptop in a desperate effort to make sense of his memories. Even birdwatching (or list ticking) has lost its edge.
And one other thing: the book is full of typos, grammatical and idiomatic errors ('rights of passage', 'piece of mind' etc)despite Boyman's acknowledgement of his 'painstaking' copy-editor. If the book had been more absorbing perhaps these would have gone unnoticed, but in the circumstances and at ten quid for a paperback I expected better.
However, the annoying bits aside, this was a reasonable stab at a birding travelogue, albeit with less actual birding than I would have liked (as a birder myself), and whiles away the time on long bus, train or plane journeys.
There are several excellent books in this genre, my personal favourites are Dan Koeppel's "To see every bird on earth", Pete Dunne's "The feather quest" and Ken Kaufman's "Kingbird highway". These three books capture the excitement and spirit of a quest, and have pearls of wisdom and philosophy sprinkled throughout.
Russell Boyman's book is a tawdry account of a wasted year, in which he spends excessive amounts of money jetting around the world during which he appears to learn nothing. There is no apparent connection or passion for the birds he is seeing, they simply represent names to tick off his list. With the funds at his disposal seeing 1000 different bird species in a year is trivial, and yet it is portrayed as an extraordinary feat.
As other reviewers have commented, in the "relationship" parts of the book the author comes across as a sexist, racist idiot with more money than sense.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Science & Nature > Biological Sciences > Animal Sciences > Birds
- Books > Science & Nature > Nature > Wild Animals > Birds
- Books > Scientific, Technical & Medical > Biology > Animal Sciences
- Books > Sports, Hobbies & Games > Fishing, Birdwatching & Other Outdoor Pursuits > Birdwatching
- Books > Travel & Holiday > Travel Writing