The Wild Duck Chase: Inside the Strange and Wonderful World of the Federal Duck Stamp Contestby Martin J. Smith
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THE WILD DUCK CHASE is the basis for "The Million Dollar Duck,” a documentary feature film, directed by Brian Golden Davis and written by Martin J. Smith, premiering at The Slamdance Film Festival in January 2016. The book takes readers into the peculiar world of competitive duck painting as it played out during the 2010 Federal Duck Stamp Contest-the only juried art competition run by the U.S. government. Since 1934, the duck stamp, which is bought annually by hunters to certify their hunting license, has generated more than $750 million, and 98 cents of each collected dollar has been used to help purchase or lease 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States.
As Martin J. Smith chronicles in his revealing narrative, within the microcosm of the duck stamp contest are intense ideological and cultural clashes between the mostly rural hunters who buy the stamps and the mostly suburban and urban birders and conservationists who decry the hunting of waterfowl. The competition also fuels dynamic tensions between competitors and judges, and among the invariably ambitious, sometimes obsessive and eccentric artists--including Minnesota's three fabled Hautman brothers, the "New York Yankees" of competitive duck painting. Martin Smith takes readers down an arcane and uniquely American rabbit hole into a wonderland of talent, ego, art, controversy, scandal, big money, and migratory waterfowl.
An eye-opening and thought-provoking glimpse into the downright wonderful world of duck stamp competition.
Martin Smith's The Wild Duck Chase is a smartly written, wonderful look at waterfowl conservation at its apex. Every page was a treat. Once you start, you won't be able to stop. Highly recommend!
"Martin Smith's The Wild Duck Chase is a smartly written, wonderful look at waterfowl conservation at its apex. Every page was a treat. Once you start, you won't be able to stop. Highly recommend!" Douglas Brinkley, professor of history at Rice University and author of WILDERNESS WARRIOR: THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND THE CRUSADE FOR AMERICA
"Participation borders on and, frequently, merges with obsession . . . And obsession makes for a surprisingly compelling read." Los Angeles Times
"Well-written, insightful, and just plain fun to read." David Allen Sibley, author of THE SIBLEY GUIDE TO BIRDS
"An interesting bit of Americana well reported." Kirkus Reviews
"Martin Smith investigates a little-known federal program and finds it brimming with fun characters, a quirky culture, and valuable lessons for anyone who wants government to actually work." Mark Obmascik, author of THE BIG YEAR
- Bloomsbury USA
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- 5 MB
Meet the Author
Martin J. Smith is editor in chief of the monthly Orange Coast magazine and a former senior editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine. The author of several nonfiction books and crime novels, he lives in Southern California.
Martin J. Smith is editor-in-chief of Orange Coast monthly magazine and a former senior editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He is author of several mystery novels and his nonfiction books include include Oops: 20 Life Lessons From the Fiascoes That Shaped America (with co-author Patrick J. Kiger) and Poplorica.
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