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A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House (The Hill Collection: Holdings of the LSU Libraries) Hardcover – April 1, 2008

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A Summer of Birds: John James Audubon at Oakley House (The Hill Collection: Holdings of the LSU Libraries) + The Audubon Reader (Everyman's Library)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Heitman's treatment of Audubon is one of the most sophisticated I've seen. He takes one episode from Audubon's life--an important one--and unfolds from that the whole exciting panorama of Audubon's life and art, a spectacular feat." -- Christoph Irmscher, editor of John James Audubon: Writings and Drawings

"Danny Heitman has a wonderful eye for detail, an ear for life's most resounding rhythms, and a heart ever open to understanding what makes us who we are. Across the years John James Audubon has found a friend in Mr. Heitman--a friend who tells this story beautifully." -- Bob Greene, National Public Radio Commentator and author of And You Know You Should Be Glad and Once Upon a Town

"I have no doubt that D. H. Lawrence--passionate advocate for 'spirit of place' in American literature--would have admired this book. Danny Heitman has entered a pivotal slice of John James Audubon's life on the brink of Birds of America, taking the fortunate reader along and re-awakening a vision of forests and wildlife around Oakley House in the sultry summer of 1821. The result is richly satisfying and artful: local history as poetic metaphor." -- Neil Baldwin, author of Edison: Inventing the Century and The American Revelation: Ten Ideals That Shaped Our Country from the Puritans to the Cold War

About the Author

Danny Heitman is an award-winning columnist for the The Advocate (Baton Rouge) and a member of the The Advocate's editorial board. He has contributed essays to the Smithsonian, Christian Science Monitor, and other national publications and recently won the In Character prize for editorial and opinion writing.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Hill Collection: Holdings of the LSU Libraries
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: LSU Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807133302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807133309
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,491,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Charles Berteau on May 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
First, let me declare openly that I am a biased reviewer. I was a classmate of Danny Heitman (the author) in high school and learned to love his story-telling and writing skills many years ago. I follow Heitman's columns and essays with interest because he always finds a way to seize me.

I knew that would the case with this book, and I was not disappointed. Although I am a native of Louisiana, I must confess that I've never examined the life of Audobon nor his oeuvre. Nor am I a birder. I am simply someone who loves history and stories. Heitman tells an interesting story, and tells it well. Using the nominally episodic setting of one summer in the forests of Oakley, Heitman weaves the story of Audobon's life, dreams, and ambitions, and you leave this book with a grasp of who Audobon really was. I may never read another book about Audobon, but I know him now.

You'll find this a quick and satisfying read, by a writer who deserves the opportunity to tell us more interesting stories in the years to come.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fran H. Willingham on September 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I couldn't wait to buy this book, since it's on a subject I've wanted to learn a lot more about...and Oakley is less than 2 hours from my home. I am a passionate birdwatcher and have visited Oakley since 1986, and couldn't wait to find out more about the specific birds Audubon painted during his Oakley sojourn and about Oakley and the Pirries.

But as charming as this little book is, I found that it wasn't what I was looking for...it was more of an essay on Audubon's spirit and persona, rather than an informative work. What it did for me was introduce me to the lively writing of Audubon himself through the excerpts in the book...so I'm off on an adventure to collect his "writings and drawings." I did love the color plates of the birds specific to Oakley, and the Oakley/Pirrie pictures added a nice dimension, though I wish they'd also have been in color. There's also a painting of Eliza Pirrie that should've been included...it hangs in Oakley and captures her saucy expression, and this is probably how she looked when Audubon was there--there's some speculation that Audubon painted it, but is probably only a legend, with no supporting facts that I am aware of...the other painting of her is when she is older and I'm not sure why it was chosen over the other colorful, expressive portrait...

While at Oakley Plantation this past weekend, I purchased Rhodes's biography, which I much prefer because of its information-delivering format. Being a former history teacher, I love to have the complete background and then assimilate additional information into that framework. That's where Summer of Birds comes in.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Beth S. on April 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
What a refreshing and delightful read. Exquisitely detailed, I felt as if I were in the woods of St Francisville, Louisiana observing the birds myself.I love the way Heitman took liberty with the time line as he wove together past and future events in Audubon's life that supported the current points in each chapter. I also appreciated how adeptly he intertwined the account with modern metaphors --reading the book was like ascending that beautiful spiral staircase to the Oakley House gallery. This author has a gifted ability to observe and write that make this a delightful read, not only for the Audubon fan but for the general reader. Kudos! I do hope there are ideas for future books in development by this talented author.
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