The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession

by Mark Obmascik
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Overview

The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik

A classic in the making -- an account of the biggest year in birdwatching history.

In the USA, some 50 million people lay claim to being bird-watchers or "birders," spending billions of dollars on birding-related travel and membership fees every year. A select, and utterly obsessed, few compete in one of the world's quirkiest contests -- the race to spot the most species in North America in a single year. And 1998 wasn't just a big year. It was the biggest. The Big Year is Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Obmascik's account of what was to become the greatest birding year of all time.

It was freak weather conditions that ensured all previous records were broken, but what becomes clear within the pages of this classic portrait of obsession is that while our feathered friends may be the objective of the Big Year competition, it's the curious activities and behavioural patterns of the pursuing "homo sapiens" that are the real cause for concern. It is a contest that reveals much of the human character in extremes. Such are the author's powers of observation that he brilliantly brings to life and gets under the skin of these extraordinary, eccentric and obsessive birders while empathizing with and eventually succumbing to the all-consuming nature of their obsession. The result is a wonderfully funny, acutely observed classic to rank alongside the best of Bill Bryson.

Mark Obmascik was the lead writer for the Denver Post's Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the Columbine High School massacre. He has been writing on strange characters and the environment for many years. He is an avid outdoorsman and recently admitted to his own growing obsession with birds. He lives in Denverwit his wife and two sons.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743245456
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 02/04/2004
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.84(w) x 8.76(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Mark Obmascik is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author of The Big Year, which was made into a movie, and Halfway to Heaven. He won the 2009 National Outdoor Book Award for outdoor literature, the 2003 National Press Club Award for environmental journalism, and was lead writer for the Denver Post team that won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Denver with his wife and their three sons.

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Big Year 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
glauver More than 1 year ago
I liked the recent film, a movie I don't think got the support it deserved, but I found the book gave a better explanation of why a trio of grown men would race over North America trying to find rare birds to win a contest with no money attached. It also gave more depth to their characters and told more about the rarities they were seeking. I suggest you also read Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher's Wild America, the book that inspired the concept of the Big Year and rent the film when it comes out in DVD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hated finishing this book. As a birder, although not so dedicated, I vicariously lived each day spent with those three men. Obmascik writes in a light and easy style, his keen observations flecked with delicious humor. The courage the three birders evidenced, particularly Greg Miller, is amazing and unforgettable. Obmascik writes vivid prose, especially considering he never once accompanied his subjects on any of their forays into the field. I rarely keep books I buy; this one I will not part with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I am, of course, a birder, and if you are not one, this book probably isnt for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
grandmapenny More than 1 year ago
I chose this book because I was looking for a light read. I had recently seen and enjoyed the movie for what it was...a light Hollywood comedy. But when I learned that it was based on a true story, my interest was piqued. And I was not disappointed. This was a wonderful chronicle that follows three of the most fascinating non fiction characters over the course of a year as they go to unimaginable lengths to try and attain a rather curious goal that only a true bird watcher would appreciate. It is very well written and documented and had me laughing or shaking my head in disbelief throughout. And in the end, I could easily distinguish a booby from a common tit!
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Nonie44 More than 1 year ago
An interesting look at three men who are birders and the they try to find the most species...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Three disparate men set out to see the most number of bird species in a year...Their Big Year... A gentle interest/sport/obsession played out far from cheers and applause. The USA with its boundless reaches and many, many climate ranges provides an unparalleled and relatively unspoiled backdrop for the people (in this case three men) who are passionate about seeing birds (as opposed to killing them). No where else but America would you meet such delightful people who rival each other, yet help each other at the same time. For a look at a world far from the concrete jungles, where we might wish wistfully to visit with such delightful obsessive behavior. Not for everone...but certainly a different rivalry from almost any other. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FotoGal More than 1 year ago
The Big Year is a far-cry from just being a birders' book. The Big Year is about the lives of three men (three birders!!!) and their obsessive (and sometimes crazy)attempts, over the course of a year, to earn bragging rights and their spots in the records for most birds "counted." Obmascik has captured the spirit of the chase and the lengths to which these three men will go to add birds to their lists. This was one book I found hard to put down and I highly recommend!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not necessary to be a bird lover to enjoy this book. This story is all about the thrill of the chase and the competition that evolves among the three main characters. Well written, fast-paced, and a bit of fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book for my parents after they took care of my children for a long weekend. My Mom woke at 2am for several nights so she could continue reading The Big Year. She then loaned it to me and I did the same. I am not a 'birder,' although I enjoy birds. One doesn't need to know anything about birds to enjoy this wonderfully written, humorous, fascinating work. I loaned The Big Year to a neighbor who read it to his tweens (who loved it) - he said it was all he could do to wait until the next evening to continue reading to his daughters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the excerpt of this book in my sons Sports Illustrated (January 19, 2004 issue) and immediately ordered a copy The Big Year. Who would have thought that three bird watchers offer the story for an article in Sports Illustrated. But this is a story of an 'extreme' sport. Bird watching at the level described in The Big Year is competitive, compulsive, and compelling. When I received the book during a cold January weekend, I could not put it down until I found out who won the competition and how the year ended for the three competitors. The writing is outstanding and the picture drawn of the three competitors leaves you thinking you know them. The Big Year is a great read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is witty, clever, and informative. Even a non-birder will find this a truly enjoyable read. I gained a deeper respect for winged creatures and garnered new information about places I'd been and places I've yet to see. The saga left me itching for an opportunity to go birdwatching!