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Soaring with Fidel: An Osprey Odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond Hardcover – April 1, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the outset, Gessner tells readers that "[t]his is not a bird book"; indeed, it's more about what Gessner came to understand about himself by spending day after day studying one particular species of bird, the osprey. Gessner, who previously wrote Return of the Osprey, which focuses on the effort to rescue ospreys from DDT annihilation, this time turns his attention to migration—why ospreys migrate to Central and South America every winter, and what they do when they're there. He tracked ospreys on one basic migration route—from Cape Cod to Cuba and back. While Gessner weaves in the science of tracking the birds, it's his rowboat-and-binoculars approach to the subject that will most attract readers. Spending days watching ospreys and chatting with other bird-watchers, Gessner discovers the "joy in reducing life to one thing." Gessner writes beautifully, with grace and humor. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gessner insists that this is not a bird book but, instead, a book about the nature of human happiness. Many of the people in it "have turned their attention to things with feathers that fly." Gessner had become obsessed with ospreys while on Cape Cod and decided to follow a flock when the flock left at the end of the summer on its annual migration. The birds fly over the eastern U.S., then over Cuba, and spend the winter in South America. Gessner joined a BBC crew making a documentary, traveling illegally into the mountains of Cuba and then into Venezuela. They traveled by car, plane, boat, and on foot to follow these raptors, whose wingspread measures six feet. Gessner describes the birds' antics and writes about the people he meets along the way. Despite what Gessner says, however, the book really is about birds; he also happens to be the author of Return of the Osprey (2001) and The Prophet of Dry Hill (2005). This is a thoughtful and loving examination of these beautiful creatures. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807085782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807085783
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #983,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Carmel on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gessner ratchets up the action with this true-life adventure. He demonstrates that a very skilled writer on a shoestring budget is able to blend ornithology, international adventure, beer, smokes and derring-do into a terrific book that teaches the reader to devour life while pursuing knowledge. The combination is odd, but I found this page-turner exciting and informative. Both people and ospreys come under Gessner's neb as he breaks a few U.S. State Department rules about travel to Cuba to see for himself where thousands of Ospreys (and other birds) migrate. His interest focuses on a particular bird he follows from Cape Cod to Cuba's La Gran Piedra. Achieving this, he risks life and limb to travel to Venezuela where kidnappings and murders are not quite as numerous as the ospreys he so adores, and borrows money to consummate his passionate quests. I reluctantly set this book aside to run an errand that took me across the Megler Bridge over the Columbia River through an estuary near Astoria, Oregon. As if on cue, an Osprey plunged into a mud flat and arose with a small flounder less than 50 yards from the highway. Had I not been reading this book, I would have missed the event, but Gessner's memorable descriptions of Osprey behavior are enriching my life. I now see ospreys all the time. Gessner's books have given me my wings, my vision is sharpened and I think I may be turning into an osprey magnet, I really think so.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish the book had gone on longer. There just wasn't as much content as I like. The subject was great. We know so little about migration. I like his style but I just wanted more storyline. I like all animal books of any kind and especially birds. We just take them for granted and now they are disappearing. I would like another follow up book with Freddy coming to America to visit us again. He was such an interesting guy and you just wanted to climb that mountain with them.
This osprey season has been as sad and interesting as any I have ever experienced and I hope David had better luck in North Carolina. Osprey nests all over seemed to fail this year. Please travel some more and continue to write and I will read. Loyal fan, B. Kelley
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Format: Paperback
This was the first of David Gessner's books that I've read. I'm addicted. What a wonderful story teller.

I was right there looking for, and hoping for Fidel to show up through the entire adventure and I loved every minute of it. Osprey are fascinating birds filled with character. The people you meet along the way are a kind, colorful, brilliant, nature loving bunch. It's a great read. I wish the adventure had kept going for another 200 pages!

David Gessner's book, The Return of the Osprey, is also excellent if you're a fan of osprey and nature. And, of course, Cape Cod.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating and wonderful book that I have shared with many friends. They all love the book too and those who have waterfront homes have now installed osprey platforms to watch these amazing birds. A great, memorable read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got more than I expected when I read this book. The story of the different ospreys and how they migrate.. and to Venezuela! plus the author's adventures in following these birds made fascinating reading. For anyone who is intersted in birds or who likes adventure stories.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Thoroughly engaging book!!!... Interesting natural history and science re these magnificent birds, a fascinating travelogue/"odyssey" and full of human interest!. I stopped reading, several times, simply because I didn't want it to end! Especially of interest as I was following a webcam of an Osprey nest in Maine (see picture) If you're a nature and/or bird afficianado, don't miss this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderfully readable story of one person's obsession with osprey migration that led him to Cuba. I especially enjoyed learning about a webcam osprey nest site.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was very informative about the life of ospreys, enjoyable reading and funny all at the same time. I would recommend this to all ospreys lovers.
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