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Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia Hardcover – December 1, 2003

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bodio offers insightful, heartfelt, and often humorous observations of the inhabitants and the landscapes of Mongolia. Recommended for all public and academic libraries."-- Library Journal


"I always look forward to reading a new book by Stephen Bodio, and this latest work is no disappointment. Besides being an excellent birder and all-around naturalist, Bodio is a keen observer of human nature and culture. His curiosity is boundless, as is his openness to new experiences."--Living Bird

From the Back Cover

When Stephen Bodio was a young boy in the early fifties he saw an image in National Geographic which became forever etched in his mind: It was a photograph of a Kazakh nomad, dressed in a long coat and wearing a fur hat, holding a huge eagle on his fist. Thus began his fascination with East Asia and with the culture that hunts, not eagles, but with eagles.
Mongolia, a vast country located between Siberia and China and little known to outsiders, was long under Soviet domination and inaccessible to westerners. When it became independent in 1990, Bodio began planning a pilgrimage to see if the eagle hunters of "The Picture" had survived. A lifelong falconer himself, he longed to visit the birth place of falconry and observe the traditions that had survived intact through the ages. His fantasy was realized when he traveled independently to the westernmost region of Mongolia and spent months with the people and birds of his dreams. In Eagle Dreams, Bodio gives life to his dreams and the people, landscapes, and animals of Mongolia that have become part of his soul.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition (December 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592282075
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592282074
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #266,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was a junior in college when my dad sent me a copy of a new magazine he had started receiving at home called Gray's Sporting Journal. An English student and avid sportsman, I turned immediately to the book review section. Typically, I did not expect much from a sporting magazine's book review; seldom did these reviews actually convey much critical information.
This was the first time I read Steve Bodio's by-line. I read his review column, then went back and read it again, and again. In three pages, I knew this was a writer that deserved my attention. In fact, I had never read anyone who so passionately loved books and the sporting life, and who also wrote about those passions so beautifully. As Bodio himself once wrote about another writer: "He's THAT good."
Steve Bodio is a cult writer, a characterization I once heard Bodio himself acknowledge. Those of us who make up this cult cannot figure out why he isn't better known. Quite possibly it is because he is a naturalist who remains an unapologetic hunter, a hunter who would rather discuss natural history than the latest camouflage pattern, and a writer who ignores current fashions and writes about subjects like falconry, pigeons, catfish and wild freedom.
This latest book, on Mongolia, is a wonderful travel book that one hopes will introduce Bodio to a new and expanded readership. "Eagle Dreams" traces Bodio's fascination with the eagle hunters of Mongolia to the realization of the dream during the course of two trips.
Calling "Eagle Dreams" a travel book is perhaps unfair; it is not easily placed into a neat category. It is a travel book, a sporting book, a nature book, a "sense of place" book-but none of those categories convey its real spirit.
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Format: Hardcover
EAGLE DREAMS is an excellent corrective to all those gonzo travel books whose writers always seem to be in a state of adrenalin overdrive. While reading it, I actually learned about Mongolia; how to get around, how to use the not necessarily user-friendly (at least to a Westerner) Mongolian lavatories, and much, much else. Indeed, it's one of the few recent travel books (of course, it's more than just a travel book) I've read where I didn't feel the author was faking it -- i.e., making up many of his adventures. Integrity seems to be Bodio's middle name. Highly recommended!!
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Format: Hardcover
Stephen J. Bodio's Eagle Dreams is one of the best books I've ever read. By turns lyrically poetic, hilariously funny, dramatic, touching, and inspiring, this book is travel writing at its very best. Most authors cannot approach Bodio in terms of talent, in the way his masterful prose brings scenes and people (in this case, the wilds of Mongolia and the tribesmen who hunt with golden eagles) to life and puts the reader in the middle of the action. Fascinating, exotic story, beautifully told. Buy this book!
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has ever been obsessed by an obscure, exotic subject will understand how Mr. Bodio's only means of satisfying his curiosity about eagle hunters was to go to Asia and experience eagle hunting for himself. This book is an antidote to the detatched, 'snarky', belittling travel writing which has lately infected adventure magazines and travel literature generally. Bodio clearly went to Mongolia desiring to learn as much as possible, and to delight in the local culture. His portrait of the eagle hunters is surprisingly optimistic, full of confidence that strange, archaic traditions can still thrive in the modern world. If you have ever fantasized about rediscovering lost arts in forgotten corners of the earth, or about having a mighty bird at your beck and call, then this book will contain much to delight you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I don't hunt or fish or tramp around in the wilderness but, despite that, I was entranced by this book - couldn't put it down. To me, it's a story of how one person, in this case a brilliant and engaging writer, managed to achieve a dream he'd held since childhood. Bodio is such a fine (and funny!) storyteller that he makes one of the world's most exotic places accessible without making it a bit less exotic. Hunting with eagles in Mongolia doesn't have to be your dream for this book to be one you'll treasure, just like you didn't have to fish for trout to love "A River Runs Through It." I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished Steve Bodio's great book, Eagle Dreams. I was swept away by his vivid word imagery to a "time" and a place that is all too hard to find in the modern world. Bodio instinctively understands the people, the culture, and the animals without the sanitized pap that is all too prevalent in adventure books. The similarities between present-day Mongolian Eagle Hunters and the Plains Indians of the l800s are remarkable. In both cultures, the Eagle has an important spiritual significance.
Jack Kerouac wrote "Sometimes it is necessary to put up with dust and rattlesnakes for the sake of pure freedom." Bodio's book oozes freedom. "Eagle Dreams" should be required reading for all undergraduate anthropology majors. If you only buy one adventure book this year, this should be it.
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