Far Away and Long Ago: A Childhood in Argentinaby W.H. Hudson
"Far Away and Long Ago" is the autobiography of naturalist William Hudson, who spent the first eighteen years of his life on the Argentinean pampas. Hudson is revered in Argentina, where they refer to him as Guillermo Enrique Hudson and name streets and towns after him. In simple and stately prose, he writes about his boyhood as one of several sons in an English family that ran an estancia on the Pampas. Despite several failed attempts to school him, he managed to pick up one of the best educations available: by using his eyes and ears to study nature. His skill in language, which is considerable, came from reading his father's books on his own. Whether writing about ombu trees, plovers, snakes, lightning storms, rheas (Argentinian ostriches), or his neighboring ranchers, Hudson brought a whole world to life with this book. Hudson published "Far Away and Long Ago" in 1917 while he was living in England. During W. H. Hudson's time, the Argentine pampas was a land of freedom and excitement, which he describes well in this memoir. Descriptions of natural history and wildlife also abound, together with politics and interpersonal relationships of the times. You'd think Hudson's book would give insights into Hudson's childhood and life - and it does - but more importantly it recreates the history, culture and geography of Argentina in a way few travel books accomplish. "Far Away and Long Ago" is perhaps one of the greatest autobiographies ever written, a book that will, without question, withstand several readings.
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Meet the Author
William Henry Hudson (1841-1922) was an author, naturalist, and ornithologist. Hudson was born in the Quilmes Partido in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, son of settlers of U.S. origin. He spent his youth studying the local flora and fauna and observing both natural and human dramas on what was then a lawless frontier, publishing his ornithological work in Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society, initially in an English mingled with Spanish idioms. Hudson settled in England during 1869. He produced a series of ornithological studies, including Argentine Ornithology (1888-1899) and British Birds (1895), and later achieved fame with his books on the English countryside, including Hampshire Day (1903), Afoot in England (1909) and A Shepherd's Life (1910), which helped foster the back-to-nature movement of the 1920s and 1930s. He was a founding member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. Hudson's best known novel is Green Mansions (1904), and his best known non-fiction is Far Away and Long Ago (1918). In Argentina, Hudson is considered to belong to the national literature as Guillermo Enrique Hudson, the Spanish version of his name. A town in Berazategui Partido and several other public places and institutions are named after him. Towards the end of his life, Hudson moved to Worthing in Sussex, England. His grave is in Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery in Worthing.
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