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A Sportsman's Library: 100 Essential, Engaging, Offbeat, and Occasionally Odd Fishing and Hunting Books for the Adventurous Reader


Stephen J. Bodio's famous review column in Gray's Sporting Journal (1981-1992) included discussions on everything from hook and bullet how-tos to modern novels and science writing. Continuing in that tradition, A Sportsman's Library: 100 Essential, Engaging, Off-Beat, and Occasionally Odd Fishing and Hunting Books for the Adventurous Reader draws on the same wide-ranging curiosity and encyclopedic knowledge of sporting literature that informed "Bodio's Review." From all the familiar, beloved classics—books by ...

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A Sportsman's Library: 100 Essential, Engaging, Offbeat, and Occasionally Odd Fishing and Hunting Books for the Adventurous Reader

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Stephen J. Bodio's famous review column in Gray's Sporting Journal (1981-1992) included discussions on everything from hook and bullet how-tos to modern novels and science writing. Continuing in that tradition, A Sportsman's Library: 100 Essential, Engaging, Off-Beat, and Occasionally Odd Fishing and Hunting Books for the Adventurous Reader draws on the same wide-ranging curiosity and encyclopedic knowledge of sporting literature that informed "Bodio's Review." From all the familiar, beloved classics—books by Izaak Walton, Robert Ruark, and Norman Maclean—to the hidden gems that no one but Bodio could have uncovered (ancient treatises on falconry, and modern considerations of the "catfish as metaphor"), each one of these short reviews is illustrated in color and presented in a browsable, easy-to-read format. Nowhere else could an explanation of the intricate beauty of a classic salmon fly rub elbows with a consideration of the craftsmanship of a Best London double. And rarely do you see the science of the hunt juxtaposed against the hunt's depiction in art. Introduction by television personality and outdoor writer Jameson Parker.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Writing history is gut-wrenching stuff. You're always worried if you're abusing your power by prioritizing importance. I've read enough of these classics to say, 'Yep, Steve, no one could have chosen a better selection, or made the ones I Haven't read sound so appealing.'" –Yvon Chouinard, climber, fly-fisherman, environmental activist and founder of Patagonia"Patrick O'Brian wrote sporting tales? Who knew? Well, who but Steve Bodio, of course. We who fuss with our own libraries—buying, trading, culling, reading, and lusting after—are beholden to Bodio for this compilation of essentials. First I noted (with satisfaction) the books I already have. And then I started filling in the gaps, because no one has a better grasp of what's worth reading in this field. His only mistake? Steve has left out his own books!" –Silvio Calabi, director of the Anglo American Sporting Agency and author of Hemingway's Guns"I've read enough of these classics to say, 'Yep, Steve, no one could have chosen a better selection, or made the ones I Haven't read sound so appealing.'" "…More than anything else, this book will make you hunger for reading… " —Jameson Parker, actor and outdoor writer, from foreword"Steve Bodio is not only our finest 'sporting' and 'nature' writers, he is one of our finest American writers. Period. I've read all his published books and I am not, at root, a hunter or fisherman. I'm a songwriting-painter who appreciates well-writ literature. Bodio's work has opened doors I may never have knocked on. His work should appeal to anyone interested in fine writing. And now: 'A Sportsmans' Library.' Essential, is the word which comes to mind. What a grand collection!" —Tom Russell, writer, songwriter"Nobody who loves traditional blood sport wants its long literary line totally obfuscated by the faux-gonzo Wang-dang Nugents and gear-hawking carny barkers of cartoonish hunting shows. Steve Bodio brings his formidable powers as both reader and writer to the cause, gifting us with a guide to the greats as varied, as magical, and yes, as essential as the works he champions." —Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762780259
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/17/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 809,387
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen J. Bodio is a former book reviewer for Gray's Sporting Journal and the author of several books, among them A Rage for Falcons, Querencia, and Aloft: A Meditation on Pigeons and Pigeon-Flying. He is a longtime resident of Magdalena, New Mexico.

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Read an Excerpt

A Sportsman's Library

The 100 Books that Every Hunter and Fisherman Should Own
By Stephen J. Bodio

Lyons Press

Copyright © 2013 Stephen J. Bodio
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780762780259



Life With an Indian Prince

By John J Craighead and Frank C. Craighead, Jr.

Hancock House

January, 2001


John Craighead and his twin brother Frank, lifelong naturalists, explorers, and conservationists, may be best known for their studies of the grizzly in Yellowstone in the sixties and seventies.  But their work started in the thirties when, as teenagers, they studied and photographed birds of prey for the National Geographic.  Their article led to a book contract for Hawks in the Hand (1939) and an invitation from an Indian Prince, R.S. Dharmakumarsinjhi ("Bapa") to come and see how falconers in India still carried on  a tradition that was hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years old.

They passed into a world that, despite Daimlers and swimming pools, was still medieval.  From October 1940 until April of 1941 they traveled, photographed and filmed everything from falconry and coursing with trained cheetahs to a royal  wedding.  They never dreamed that, soon after their return, the flames of World War II and the passions of Indian Independence would sweep away the entire society that they had glimpsed.  The brothers published a short article, "Life With an Indian Prince," in the National Geographic, and went off to train naval pilots for survival in the South Seas.

Although they made a film for National Geographic, it was never released.  About fifty years later, Frank Craighead delivered a detailed day-to-day diary of the trip, together with hundreds of color slides, to S. Kent Carnie of the Archives of  Falconry in Boise, Idaho.  Carnie realized that, rather than an obscure text of interest only to falconers and bird of prey specialists, he had his hands on something like a time machine, an intimate glimpse into the high culture of the Raj.  The Archives have made every effort to produce a book worthy of the material, and have succeeded magnificently. Life is a lavish and oversized volume of 277 pages printed on fine paper and with color photographs on virtually every page and backed up by a detailed glossary. 

The Craigheads' diaries begin at the trip's start in Pennsylvania . The brothers drive across the country (stopping to climb in the Tetons) then embark from San Francisco on the President Cleveland. During the crossing they paint vivid, innocent pictures of prewar South Seas travel, and photograph such things as a Hong Kong still dominated by forested hills, early reminders to the present-day reader of how much the world has changed.

  But the bulk of the book details a sporting season in western India.  The Craigheads participate in trapping and training a princely team of falcons and goshawks (Bapa alone has a team of 33 birds, all attended by professional falconers) using methods unchanged since the dawn of falconry.  They ride on bullock carts with trained cheetahs to pursue blackbuck antelope.  They cross India to attend a royal wedding complete with a retinue of costumed elephants and a ritual lion hunt in the formally managed Gir forest.  Finally, they take their team of trained birds out to hunt hare and partridge, heron and plover, even such medieval quarry as ibis and kite.

Readers should realize that,  despite all the hunting, British India's wildlife was intensely managed and conserved.  The Gir forest lions survive today because they were preserved for the Maharajas' hunts.  Post-Independence chaos and unrestrained population growth have reduced the wildlife of Bhavnagar, and all India, to a ghostly remnant of what existed in 1940.  Bapa devoted the rest of his life to conservation and the preservation of endangered species, as did the Craigheads.

But this book is a grand testimony to a time when the problems of the late Twentieth Century were still on the horizon.  The lives of the upper classes were the same as they had been for centuries, except for a few modern conveniences, and it was possible to believe that this life could go on indefinitely. This bright window into the past should be of interest to all falconers and naturalists, but also to historians, anthropologists, and anyone curious about lost customs and cultures.


Excerpted from A Sportsman's Library by Stephen J. Bodio Copyright © 2013 by Stephen J. Bodio. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents Part 1: Fishing Chapter 1: Sheridan Anderson, Curtis Creek ManifestoChapter 2: Jim Babb, Fly Fishing FoolChapter 3: Dame Juliana Berners, Book of St Albans, etc. Chapter 4: Burkhard Bilger, Noodling for FlatheadsChapter 5: Russell Chatham, Dark WatersChapter 6: David James Duncan, The River WhyChapter 7: Negley Farson, Gone FishingChapter 8: John Gierach, Trout BumChapter 9: Arnold Gingrich, Well-tempered AnglerChapter 10: Roderick Haig-Brown, A River Never SleepsChapter 11: Ted Hughes, Collected PoemsChapter 12: William Humphrey, My Moby DickChapter 13: Luke Jennings, Blood KnotChapter 14: Nick Lyons, Full CreelChapter 15: Norman MacLean, A River Runs Through ItChapter 16: Teresa Maggio, MattanzaChapter 17: Gavin Maxwell, Harpoon VentureChapter 18: John McDonald, Origins of AnglingChapter 19: Thomas McGuane, 92 In the ShadeChapter 20: Frank Mele, Small in the Eye of a RiverChapter 21: Harry Middleton, On the Spine of TimeChapter 22: Seth Norman, Meanderings of a Fly FishermanChapter 23: Patrick O'Brien, The Last PoolChapter 24: Datus Proper, What the Trout SaidChapter 25: M H Salmon, The Catfish as MetaphorChapter 26: Paul Schmookler, Rare and Unusual Fly Tying Materials: A Natural History Chapter 27: O'Dell Shepard, Thy Rod and Thy ReelChapter 28: G. E. M. Skues, Way of a TroutChapter 29: Jeremy Wade, River MonstersChapter 30: Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler WINGSHOOTING Chapter 31: "BB" (Denys Watkins Pitchford): Manka the Sky GypsyChapter 32: William Beebe, Pheasant JunglesChapter 33: Vance Bourjaily, Unnatural EnemyChapter 34: Tom Davis, The Tattered Autumn SkyChapter 35: George Bird Evans, The Upland Shooting LifeChapter 36: Charles Fergus, A Rough Shooting DogChapter 37: William Harnden Foster, New England Grouse ShootingChapter 38: Caroline Gordon, Aleck Maury, SportsmanChapter 39: Col. Peter Hawker, Instructions to Young Sportsmen…Chapter 40: Van Campen Heilner, American Duck ShootingChapter 41: "Mr." Markland, The Art of Shooting Flying Chapter 42: Timothy Murphy, A Hunter's LogChapter 43: Datus Proper, Pheasants of the MindChapter 44: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross CreekChapter 45: Ivan Turgenev, Sportsman's NotebooksChapter 46: Guy de la Valdene, The Fragrance of GrassChapter 47: Charley Waterman, Gun Dogs and Bird Guns GENERAL HUNTING, GUNS, TRAVEL, MIXED, & MISCELLANEOUS(includes falconry and some odd fishing) Chapter 48: Roy Chapman Andrews, Across Mongolian PlainsChapter 49: V. K. Arseniev, Dersu the TrapperChapter 50: John Barsness, The Life of the HuntChapter 51: Peter Beard, The End of the GameChapter 52: W. D. M. Bell, Wanderings of an Elephant HunterChapter 53: Caroline Blackwood, In the PinkChapter 54: Angus Cameron & Judith Jones: LL Bean Game & Fish CookbookChapter 55: Jim Corbett, Maneaters of KumaonChapter 56: Frank & John Craighead, Life With an Indian PrinceChapter 57: Isaak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Out of AfricaChapter 58: William Faulkner, The Big WoodsChapter 59: Emperor Frederick II, De Arte Venandi cum AvibusChapter 60: John Graves, The Last RunningChapter 61: Dale Guthrie, The Nature of Paleolithic ArtChapter 62: John Haines, The Stars, The Snows, The FireChapter 63: Frances Hamerstrom, Is She Coming Too? Chapter 64: Jim Harrison, Just Before DarkChapter 65: MacDonald Hastings, The ShotgunChapter 66: The Helmericks, We Live in the ArcticChapter 67: Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of AfricaChapter 68: George Leonard Herter, Bull Cook and Authentic Historical recipes and Practices; Chapter 69: Frank Hibben, Hunting American Lions Chapter 70: Geoffrey Household, Dance of the DwarvesChapter 71: William Humphrey, Home From the HillChapter 72: Steve Hunter, Pale Horse ComingChapter 73: Joe Hutto, Illumination in the FlatwoodsChapter 74: C. J. P. Ionides, A Hunter's StoryChapter 75: Robert F. Jones, Blood SportChapter 76: Aldo Leopold, Sand County AlmanacChapter 77: Dan Mannix, A Sporting ChanceChapter 78: Thomas McGuane, An Outside ChanceChapter 79: Thomas McIntyre, Seasons and DaysChapter 80: Richard Nelson, The Island Within Chapter 81: Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on HuntingChapter 82: Jack O'Connor, Hunting in the SouthwestChapter 83: Rebecca O'Connor, LiftChapter 84: Brian Plummer, Diary of a Rat Hunting ManChapter 85: Saxton Pope, Hunting With the Bow and ArrowChapter 86: Mikhail Prishvin, Nature's DiaryChapter 87: Steven Rinella, The Scavenger's Guide to Haut CuisineChapter 88: Teddy Roosevelt, Wilderness Hunter Chapter 89: John Rowlands, Cache Lake CountryChapter 99: Robert Ruark, Something of ValueChapter 91: Franklin Russell, The Hunting AnimalChapter 92: Ernest Thompson Seton, Lives of the HuntedChapter 93: Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson, A Woman TenderfootChapter 94: Paul Shepard, The Tender Carnivore and The Sacred GameChapter 95: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Old WayChapter 96: John Vaillant, The TigerChapter 97: Brian Vesey-FitzGerald, It's My DelightChapter 98: T. H. White, The GoshawkChapter 99: T. H, White, Gone to GroundChapter 100: Colin Willock, The Gun Punt Adventure

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