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

5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 is one of the world's leading television broadcasters. His interest in the birds of paradise began at a very early age, leading to various expeditions to New Guinea to see them in the wild. The award-winning documentary Attenborough in Paradise fulfilled a dream to record in the wild the courtship display of these magnificent birds.

Errol Fuller is well known for his books on extinction and extinct species, as well as an artist and collector of natural history material. He is passionate about the Birds of Paradise.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (October 20, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691113238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691113234
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
While mentioning several highpoints in his childhood, David Attenborough's book mainly covers his working career upon graduation from university. Most people will be familiar with his animal and natural world documentaries from the late 80s onwards. I was surprised that he almost fell into the BBC and that he first started his involvement in natural history in the 1950s. He covers in great detail the problems encountered in broadcasting live from the studio during the infancy of television and the limitations of filming in the wild with basic equipment. David Attenborough, besides being famous for his documentaries, is also one of TV's pioneers. For a long time as well, he was senior management within the BBC and largely responsible for a lot of the programming that that boradcaster produced in the 60s and 70s. This surprised me as I was only familiar with his later documentary work.

Told with a lot of humour, the reader will meet all manner of fascinating people and animals in every corner of the world. This man has done more in his life than any of us will ever do and he has shared it with us on screen and in this marvellous book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Attenborough is a master of the English language; it is an absolute pleasure to read as well as to listen to his book. He presents his life travelling the world for collecting and filming animals and plants with his typical humour. His private life is rarely mentioned, just some corner events like marriage, child birth, death of his beloved wife. It is, however, an excellent biography about the BBC from its low budget beginning to the point of today's multi-billion enterprise. His jocular way describing disappointing, difficult and possibly even dangerous situation might remind the reader of English understatement or - much better - serve as an attitude to be acquired. It was a delight for me to read the book, and I have recommended it several times to fellow biologists - all agreed: it's another David Attenborough masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback
David Attenborough's 'Life on Air' gives a fascinating insight into the work of a true gentle man of the airwaves.

The book is entirely readible with several unexpected laughs in store.

A master at understating his own achievements, Attenborough tells the story of his work with the BBC, spanning an incredible fifty years. Often facing the worst inconveniences of tropical insects for days on end to get illusive shots of nature's wonders, he has tirelessly laboured to bring precious knowledge to the world of the richness of our planet.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
You gotta admit, nobody dislikes Sir David (perhaps except George Bush as Sir David was critical of him in regards of environmental issues). He's probably the most liked person in the world. And so is his book. It's interesting, humorous. All sorts of interactions with wild life and indigenous people. He brings you with him around the world in every reachable places in this book. You will find yourself laughing out loud and wouldn't want to put down the book.

He was said to be the person who travelled the most on our planet. With his never boring way of telling us things, of course the book is a must buy!
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