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Illumination in the Flatwoods: A Season With The Wild Turkey Paperback – October 31, 2006
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“Joe Hutto has with empathy and patience entered the wild turkey’s world like no one before. His insight is a revelation and his writing a delight.”
—George B. Schaller
“Beautifully written and observed, Illumination in the Flatwoods is a work of art worthy of its subjects. The book takes us to a place we might never have even dreamed and gives our minds the courage to believe things our hearts have always known.”
“This book is all about turkeys, and yet you will come away from it thinking not about poults and jakes but about the overlap of art and science, the difference between love and sentiment, and what fine creatures humans can be when they are at their best.”
“Hutto’s book will join Gavin Maxell’s Ring of Bright Water and Joy Adamson’s Born Free as a classic work of natural history and human-animal interaction. . . . Hutto’s prose flows with lyrical beauty, carried on the respect and deep love he holds for his charges.”
—Bird Watcher’s Digest
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Hutto spent every hour of every day for well over a year with his subjects, talking to them while they were still in the egg, awaking before dawn to be with them, walking with them day after day in heat and rain, and roosting with them at night. The author's sacrifice in learning about wild turkeys puts him in that rare group of researchers who lived with their subjects, and came to understand them on their terms: Goodall, Schaller, Fosse.
Hutto is a fabulous thinker, and "illumination" is about what we can learn through his eyes, and what his turkeys were willing to teach him. Five years from now, biology students will be reading this book in the way that they once read Tinbergen or Lorenz.
The writing here is as good as nature writing can get. It tells a similar story to the award-winning PBS documentary derived from the book (see [...]) but with much more detail, and much more reflection on the meanings of things.
When you're finished, you'll be wanting to read his other books -- The Light in High Places (about Bighorn Sheep) and Touching the Wild (about Mule Deer). Do so. You may find this one the best.
Much has been said about the unique charm of this documentary and it's companion book, so I won't say anything but that it is a film so profound and beautiful that It can be shown to children, adults, urbanites, country folk, hunters, PETA members,wildlife biologists (thought they will undoubtedly criticize the approach from a scientific perspective), and even the most jaded of wildlife documentary critics with the same markedly positive response. It is a truly entertaining and gorgeous work of film making, and the book is even better in its detail. Joe has a unusually poetic voice, and his appreciation of the natural environment and its wild inhabitants is profound in its nuanced understanding of the intricate and sophisticated relationship between wild animals and their habitat, but exuberant with sense of wonder that most of us lose after childhood. You feel as if you are experiencing the discovery of something amazing along with him as he recounts the surprise and bewilderment of each aspect of wild turkey life that his brood reveals during the year in which he was their surrogate mother/odd companion. I recommend this to ANYONE. Anyone. I can't think of many, if any, films that I could recommend so universally.
Most recent customer reviews
This Book is FANTASTIC. I promise.