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 ...

See more details below
BN.com price
(Save 36%)$18.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $6.63   
  • New (8) from $6.63   
  • Used (3) from $10.28   
A Sportsman's Library: 100 Essential, Engaging, Offbeat, and Occasionally Odd Fishing and Hunting Books for the Adventurous Reader

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price
(Save 30%)$14.99 List Price


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.


Read More Show Less

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


Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762780259
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 3/17/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 631,328
  • 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.

Read More Show Less

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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Part 1: Fishing


Chapter 1: Sheridan Anderson, Curtis Creek Manifesto

Chapter 2: Jim Babb, Fly Fishing Fool

Chapter 3: Dame Juliana Berners, Book of St Albans, etc.

Chapter 4: Burkhard Bilger, Noodling for Flatheads

Chapter 5: Russell Chatham, Dark Waters

Chapter 6: David James Duncan, The River Why

Chapter 7: Negley Farson, Gone Fishing

Chapter 8: John Gierach, Trout Bum

Chapter 9: Arnold Gingrich, Well-tempered Angler

Chapter 10: Roderick Haig-Brown, A River Never Sleeps

Chapter 11: Ted Hughes, Collected Poems

Chapter 12: William Humphrey, My Moby Dick

Chapter 13: Luke Jennings, Blood Knot

Chapter 14: Nick Lyons, Full Creel

Chapter 15: Norman MacLean, A River Runs Through It

Chapter 16: Teresa Maggio, Mattanza

Chapter 17: Gavin Maxwell, Harpoon Venture

Chapter 18: John McDonald, Origins of Angling

Chapter 19: Thomas McGuane, 92 In the Shade

Chapter 20: Frank Mele, Small in the Eye of a River

Chapter 21: Harry Middleton, On the Spine of Time

Chapter 22:  Seth Norman, Meanderings of a Fly Fisherman

Chapter 23: Patrick O’Brien, The Last Pool

Chapter 24: Datus Proper, What the Trout Said

Chapter 25: M H Salmon, The Catfish as Metaphor

Chapter 26: Paul Schmookler, Rare and Unusual Fly Tying Materials: A Natural History

Chapter 27: O’Dell Shepard, Thy Rod and Thy Reel

Chapter 28: G. E. M. Skues, Way of a Trout

Chapter 29: Jeremy Wade, River Monsters

Chapter 30: Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler




Chapter 31: “BB” (Denys Watkins Pitchford): Manka the Sky Gypsy

Chapter 32: William Beebe, Pheasant Jungles

Chapter 33: Vance Bourjaily, Unnatural Enemy

Chapter 34: Tom Davis, The Tattered Autumn Sky

Chapter 35: George Bird Evans, The Upland Shooting Life

Chapter 36: Charles Fergus, A Rough Shooting Dog

Chapter 37: William Harnden Foster, New England Grouse Shooting

Chapter 38: Caroline Gordon, Aleck Maury, Sportsman

Chapter 39: Col. Peter Hawker, Instructions to Young Sportsmen…

Chapter 40: Van Campen Heilner, American Duck Shooting

Chapter 41: “Mr.” Markland, The Art of Shooting Flying

Chapter 42: Timothy Murphy, A Hunter’s Log

Chapter 43: Datus Proper, Pheasants of the Mind

Chapter 44: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Cross Creek

Chapter 45: Ivan Turgenev, Sportsman’s Notebooks

Chapter 46: Guy de la Valdene, The Fragrance of Grass

Chapter 47: Charley Waterman, Gun Dogs and Bird Guns


(includes falconry and some odd fishing)

Chapter 48: Roy Chapman Andrews, Across Mongolian Plains

Chapter 49: V. K. Arseniev, Dersu the Trapper

Chapter 50: John Barsness, The Life of the Hunt

Chapter 51: Peter Beard, The End of the Game

Chapter 52: W. D. M. Bell, Wanderings of an Elephant Hunter

Chapter 53: Caroline Blackwood, In the Pink

Chapter 54: Angus Cameron & Judith Jones: LL Bean Game & Fish Cookbook

Chapter 55: Jim Corbett, Maneaters of Kumaon

Chapter 56: Frank & John Craighead, Life With an Indian Prince

Chapter 57: Isaak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Out of Africa

Chapter 58: William Faulkner, The Big Woods

Chapter 59: Emperor Frederick II, De Arte Venandi cum Avibus

Chapter 60: John Graves, The Last Running

Chapter 61: Dale Guthrie, The Nature of Paleolithic Art

Chapter 62: John Haines, The Stars, The Snows, The Fire

Chapter 63: Frances Hamerstrom, Is She Coming Too?

Chapter 64: Jim Harrison, Just Before Dark

Chapter 65: MacDonald Hastings, The Shotgun

Chapter 66: The Helmericks, We Live in the Arctic

Chapter 67: Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa

Chapter 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 Dwarves

Chapter 71: William Humphrey, Home From the Hill

Chapter 72: Steve Hunter, Pale Horse Coming

Chapter 73: Joe Hutto, Illumination in the Flatwoods

Chapter 74: C. J. P. Ionides, A Hunter’s Story

Chapter 75: Robert F.  Jones, Blood Sport

Chapter 76: Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac

Chapter 77: Dan Mannix, A Sporting Chance

Chapter 78: Thomas McGuane, An Outside Chance

Chapter 79: Thomas McIntyre, Seasons and Days

Chapter 80: Richard Nelson, The Island Within

Chapter 81: Jose Ortega y Gasset, Meditations on Hunting

Chapter 82: Jack O’Connor, Hunting in the Southwest

Chapter 83: Rebecca O’Connor, Lift

Chapter 84: Brian Plummer, Diary of a Rat Hunting Man

Chapter 85: Saxton Pope, Hunting With the Bow and Arrow

Chapter 86: Mikhail Prishvin, Nature’s Diary

Chapter 87: Steven Rinella, The Scavenger’s Guide to Haut Cuisine

Chapter 88: Teddy Roosevelt, Wilderness Hunter

Chapter 89: John Rowlands, Cache Lake Country

Chapter 99: Robert Ruark, Something of Value

Chapter 91: Franklin Russell, The Hunting Animal

Chapter 92: Ernest Thompson Seton, Lives of the Hunted

Chapter 93: Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson, A Woman Tenderfoot

Chapter 94: Paul Shepard, The Tender Carnivore and The Sacred Game

Chapter 95: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Old Way

Chapter 96: John Vaillant, The Tiger

Chapter 97: Brian Vesey-FitzGerald, It’s My Delight

Chapter 98: T. H. White, The Goshawk

Chapter 99: T. H, White, Gone to Ground

Chapter 100: Colin Willock, The Gun Punt Adventure 

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)