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Life on Air: Memoirs of a Broadcaster Hardcover – October 20, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780691113234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691113234
  • ASIN: 0691113238
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Life on Air, David Attenborough's professional autobiography, tells the entertaining story of how he turned us all into armchair experts in natural history."--Douglas Palmer, New Scientist

"[An] engaging and often amusing text."--Choice

"The boyish enthusiasm of the young Leicestershire schoolboy who had his own museum, and collected fossils, butterflies, skulls, and eggs, remains with Attenborough today after 50 years of experience with the media."--Sir Ghilean Prance, Times Higher Education Supplement

"Lively and witty accounts of expeditions and television politics make the book and adventure in itself. . . . Life on Air is another Attenborough production you will thoroughly enjoy."--Wildlife Activist

About the Author

David Attenborough was born in 1926 and educated at Cambridge. He started making television documentaries in the 1950s, produced the series "Zoo Quest", and made some of television's first black-and-white nature films before being promoted to senior management at the BBC. In the 1970s, Attenborough returned to filmmaking and has subsequently produced some of the most famous wildlife documentaries ever made, most notably his "Life" series. He was knighted in 1985 and now lives near London. He is the author of "The Life of Birds", "The Private Life of Plants", and "The Life of Mammals" (all Princeton).

More About the Author

Sir David Attenborough is Britain's best-known natural history film-maker. His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned nearly five decades and there are very few places on the globe that he has not visited.

Sir David's first job - after Cambridge University and two years in the Royal Navy - was at the London publishing house Hodder & Stoughton. Then in 1952 he joined the BBC as a trainee producer and it was while working on the Zoo Quest series (1954-64) that he had his first opportunity to undertake expeditions to remote parts of the globe to capture intimate footage of rare wildlife in its natural habitat.

He was Controller of BBC2 (1965-68), during which time he introduced colour television to Britain, then Director of Programmes for the BBC (1969-1972). However in 1973 he abandoned administration altogether to return to documentary-making and writing.

Over the last 25 years he has established himself as the world's leading natural history programme maker with several landmark BBC series, including Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), The Private Life of Plants (1995), Life of Birds (1998), Life of Mammals (2002) and Life in the Undergrowth (2005). Sir David is a Trustee of the British Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge; a Fellow of the Royal Society and was knighted in 1985.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Dowling on December 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have watched David Attenboroughs TV documentaries for years and have consistently found them to be unrivalled in their ability to bring the subject matter to life in a way no other presenter can. This book maintains that tradition. As you read the book you travel with the author and what a trip it is. He is an immensely likable person who has led a fascinating life. The book is also well constructed, highly readable and offers a host of insights into both the author and the natural world. I would strongly recommend it to you.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Claus Hetting on July 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. As a kid I used to sit glued to the TV watching Attenborough's programmes, such as the series 'Life on Earth' and countless others, bringing exotic places and the wonders of natural world into our living rooms. This book is an autobiography focused on David Attenborough's long and unparalleled BBC career starting from the birth of the TV medium in the 40's and 50's up untill today. What shines through in this book is vintage Attenborough: A true passion for his vocation, and an indefatigable desire to bring the most fascinating aspects of natural history to our TV screens. In a time when a lot of TV is hopelessly pre-digested and bland, Attenborough stands out more than ever, and so does this book. Read it an enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul D on March 7, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a book for Brits over sixty. If you remember watching "Zoo Quest" on TV as a kid, you will love this book. If you are younger or not British, most of it will mean nothing to you. I've always admired David Attenborough and hearing him reading his own book is a real pleasure. His stories about the early days of television are fascinating and some of the technical issues he discusses are illuminating, if you are (or were) that kind of nerd. I never realized that he almost got pulled away from making nature programs and was seduced by the dark side of the BBC - the administration. He was even considered for the job of Director General (the top dog at the BBC) but happily he quit the BBC and went back to making the "Life" series, which has been so successful. As I said at the beginning, if you remember "Zoo Quest", if you remember standing outside a TV shop watching Wimbledon in colour (not color) or you know who (or what) "Hullabaloo and Custard" were, you should buy the book or better still, the recording. You will LOVE it.
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By Bob Hope on November 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
this is a fantastic read from an inspiring man. his work and passion are evident in his writing and documentaries. i found this work very personal, i was never left wondering.

my only complaint, which is a minor detail -- was that he doesn't reminisce much about his EARLY years... his childhood years. that is to be expected however, as the title of the book is "life on air" after all...
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