William Souder

Under a Wild Sky

In this Pulitzer Prize–finalist biography, the author of Mad at the World examines the little-known life of the man behind the well-known bird survey.
John James Audubon is renowned for his masterpiece of natural history and art, The Birds of America, the first nearly comprehensive survey of the continent’s birdlife. And yet few people understand, and many assume incorrectly, what sort of man he was. How did the illegitimate son of a French sea captain living in Haiti, who lied both about his parentage and his training, rise to become one of the greatest natural historians ever and the greatest name in ornithology? In Under a Wild Sky this Pulitzer Prize finalist, William Souder reveals that Audubon did not only compose the most famous depictions of birds the world has ever seen, but he also composed a brilliant mythology of self. In this dazzling work of biography, Souder charts the life of a driven man who, despite all odds, became the historical figure we know today.
“A meticulous biography and a fascinating portrait of a young nation.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“As richly endowed and densely packed as the forests of Audubon’s day.”—Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Deftly weaves together the story of the self-taught artist and naturalist…with the development of scientific inquiry in the early years of the republic and the lives of ordinary Americans as the new nation spilled westward over the mountains from the Eastern seaboard.”—Los Angeles Times
581 printed pages
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