- Explore more great deals on thousands of titles in our Deals in Books store.
|Amazon Price||New from||Used from|
"Except for one thing, this book would rate as a great adventure novel and fictional psychological portrait, about a woman's obsession with bird-watching, its effect on her relationships with her husband and her four children, and the horrifying mishaps that she survived on each continent--until the last mishap. But the book isn't that great novel, because instead it's a great true story: the biography of Phoebe Snetsinger, who set the world record for bird species seen, after growing up in an era when American women weren't supposed to be competitive or have careers. Whether or not you pretend that it's a novel, you'll enjoy this powerful, moving story."—Jared Diamond, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse
"[A] fascinating biography … a beautiful story of intellectual passion, love of nature, self-education, self-reinvention, and high adventure." —Slate
“Gentile’s tale of a desperate but determined housewife with a passion for birds and adventure is engrossing, sharp, and affecting—a touching portrait and great read.” —Susan Orlean, author of The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup and The Orchid Thief
"Gentile tells Snetsinger's staggering story with clarity and verve. She reflects incisively on the shadow side of Snetsinger's quest—the perverse metamorphosis that turned a liberating passion into a devouring addiction, and perceptively elucidates and celebrates her accomplishments. A remarkable woman of tenacity, courage and transcendence, Snetsinger leaves a profound legacy, which will now be more fully appreciated and treasured thanks to Gentile's enthralling, provocative and inspiring biography." —Chicago Tribune
"After she heard about the Snetsinger legend, Gentile spent eight years pursuing Snetsinger as earnestly as Snetsinger pursued birds. The result is a wonderful book … Snetsinger's story is an adventure story, a psychological drama, a tragedy—and a triumph." —Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Riveting." —New Orleans Times-Picayune
“Compelling … [A] fascinating portrait of a woman torn between her obligations to her family and her life's passion: birds.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
“[Gentile does] a masterful job of investigating and vividly describing the personality, the extreme will to achieve, and the previously unknown life of Phoebe Snetsinger, the famous first lady of world birding ... absorbing and informative.” —Surfbirds
“As much about meaningful living as about sparrows and chickadees, this intimate piece of reportage follows Phoebe Snetsinger, a housewife who in the 1960s takes refuge from banality in bird watching. Gradually sacrificing family ties and personal safety in her quest to see 8,000 birds before dying, she becomes a mythic figure among birders and leads Gentile to ruminate on how obsession with the natural world—so often touted as a scientist’s best asset—can be destructive as well as fulfilling.” —Seed
"Lively biography of intrepid, world-traveling ornithologist and cancer survivor Phoebe Snetsinger ... the prose delightfully conveys Gentile’s engagement with her subject. Compassionate and comprehensive." —Kirkus Reviews
"[A] stirring account of an intriguing woman and the life she led." —Booklist
"Gentile's in-depth research and lovely prose is accompanied by 16 equally lovely watercolor bird drawings by Rebecca Layton."—Austin American Statesman"Diagnosed in her late 40s with incurable cancer and less than a year to live, [Phoebe Snetsinger] threw herself into birding, traveling worldwide, ignoring injury and danger to work on her life list for another 18 years ... Gentile’s ambivalence, celebrating Snetsinger’s 'having lived so fully and with so much spirit' but noting that 'she had lost the capacity to take into account her family, her health and her safety,' adds a reflectiveness that Phoebe herself may have avoided in life." —Publishers Weekly
“Olivia Gentile’s Life List is the remarkable story of Phoebe Snetsinger, a woman trapped by her life as homemaker, who found liberation in bird watching. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, she began traveling the world, not seeking a cure, but in search of rare birds—becoming a kind of ornithologist's heroine, and living another eighteen years. Gentile’s journalistic temperament lures you in, whether you like birds or not (frankly I kind of hate them). The result is a beautifully revealing, sensitive exploration of Snetsinger’s singular obsession. The story slips under your skin—you can’t help but keep reading.”—A.M. Homes, author of The Mistress’s Daughter and This Book Will Save Your Life
"An intriguing portrait of one of the best-known birders of the modern age. I couldn't put it down!" —Peter Kaestner, America’s top living bird lister
"Phoebe Snetsinger lived a life of high adventure and exotic travel familiar to 19th century explorers - except that she was a 1960s Midwestern housewife who was supposed to be dying of cancer. How she became the world's most driven, globe-trotting birder, what she gained and what she sacrificed to see three-quarters of the Earth's birds, makes Life List an unusually compelling story." ̵...
A great book, and one for any Birder or anyone interested in the many pursuits life has to offer.
Phoebe Snetsinger's story is fascinating -- she had a wacky, incredible life, and Gentile does a fantastic job of capturing it.
Ms. Gentile's writing style is engaging to read and I found myself unable to put the book down until I had finished it.
I conclude that Phoebe was not the sort who should ever gotten married and had children, but at the time, she lived by the "rules" and did so. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Catherine
Phoebe Snetsinger, the daughter of advertising pioneer Leo Burnett, travelled the world in search of birds following a melanoma diagnosis and went on to become the greatest birder... Read morePublished 5 months ago by John Bloomfield
As a bird watcher wannabe I really enjoyed the passion and desire of the main character. However, her dreams, in this time period, were quite different than what her family may... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Marsha M McCaleb
Really enjoyed her quest and her trials. I plan to go back into it and look for some birds to pursuePublished 13 months ago by Eleanor Balaban
This was recommended by my grand daughter, who is into birding, also a biology major. I am really enjoying it so farPublished 20 months ago by Elizabeth
For anyone who likes birdwatching, do not buy this book. The author appears to have given no time to understanding Phoebe's passion, and it is evident throughout the book. Read morePublished on December 11, 2012 by M. Hamilton
This book was placed in the fiction sections of our community library, but I quickly realized that this was actually a true story of a remarkable woman; a woman with a singular... Read morePublished on September 21, 2012 by WordNerdSHM
I have and had been aware of the exploits of Phoebe Snetsinger well before her death at the age of 68 in a bus accident in Madagascar. Read morePublished on June 2, 2012 by D. Blankenship