Read The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip M. Hoose Online


The tragedy of extinction is explained through the dramatic story of a legendary bird, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and of those who tried to possess it, paint it, shoot it, sell it, and, in a last-ditch effort, save it. A powerful saga that sweeps through two hundred years of history, it introduces artists like John James Audubon, bird collectors like William Brewster, anThe tragedy of extinction is explained through the dramatic story of a legendary bird, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and of those who tried to possess it, paint it, shoot it, sell it, and, in a last-ditch effort, save it. A powerful saga that sweeps through two hundred years of history, it introduces artists like John James Audubon, bird collectors like William Brewster, and finally a new breed of scientist in Cornell's Arthur A. "Doc" Allen and his young ornithology student, James Tanner, whose quest to save the Ivory-bill culminates in one of the first great conservation showdowns in U.S. history, an early round in what is now a worldwide effort to save species. As hope for the Ivory-bill fades in the United States, the bird is last spotted in Cuba in 1987, and Cuban scientists join in the race to save it.All this, plus Mr. Hoose's wonderful story-telling skills, comes together to give us what David Allen Sibley, author of The Sibley Guide to Birds calls "the most thorough and readable account to date of the personalities, fashions, economics, and politics that combined to bring about the demise of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker."The Race to Save the Lord God Bird is the winner of the 2005 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and the 2005 Bank Street - Flora Stieglitz Award....

Title : The Race to Save the Lord God Bird
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374361730
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Race to Save the Lord God Bird Reviews

  • Richie Partington
    2019-05-04 19:44

    10 May 2004 THE RACE TO SAVE THE LORD GOD BIRD by Phillip Hoose, Farrar Straus & Giroux, August 2004, ISBN: 0-374-36173-8"Don't it always seem to goThat you don't know what you've gotTill it's gone" --Joni Mitchell"Before white settlement, more than one-quarter of all the birds in what is now the United States were Passenger Pigeons. They were so abundant that in 1810 Alexander Wilson saw a flock pass overhead that was a mile wide and 240 miles long, containing over two billion birds. That flock could have stretched nearly twenty-three times around the equator. Passenger Pigeons were pretty and brown, with small grayish heads, barrel chests, and long, tapered wings that sent them through the sky at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour."But they had two problems: they were good to eat and they destroyed crops by eating seeds. Farmers not only shot them, but also cast huge nets over fields to trap them by the thousands. It took only a few decades to wipe out what may have been the most plentiful bird ever to live on the earth. A fourteen-year-old boy named Press Clay Southworth shot the last wild Passenger Pigeon in 1900. The species became extinct in 1914, when Martha, the last captive pigeon, died quietly in the Cincinnati Zoo."You know those arcade games with a steering wheel and a gas pedal? (There never seems to be a brake pedal on those things.) Well, sometimes the world feels to me just like one of those babies, careening along full speed, sound effects and all, with all of us just trying to hold on and not send anyone or anything flying off the road. And then there are also those times it feels like I'm out there on that animated road like a deer in the headlights, waving my arms with all those crazy drivers blindly bearing down on me."Humans now use up more than half of the world's fresh water and nearly half of everything that's grown on land."I remember being a little kid and reading about extinct species such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Dodo bird, and about the rapidly diminishing number of bald eagles (thanks to DDT). Back in 1960, when there were around 177 million people in the United States, I was growing up in Plainview, L.I., which was then the eastern terminus of the Long Island Expressway. I'd sometimes go kite flying in the pasture of a nearby cow dairy. (Yes, cow dairies in Plainview.) People I would later meet in the environmental movement were then involved in the Zero Population Growth movement.In 1970, when the US was up past the 200 million people mark, my parents loaded us in the car for a drive to Florida to see the piece of investment property they'd bought in the middle of nowhere. (A memorable trip, for I hacked all the way there and back with what turned out to be a bad case of walking pneumonia.) That nowhere is now the city of Naples, Florida, and the swamps and grassy plains I saw there in 1970 are now nowhere."It's the end of the world as we know it."--REMIn 1980, when I had a farm in Southampton, I watched a red fox carrying off one of my young laying hens. You sure wouldn't see that today. At that point the US was up past 226 million. A few years later, after arriving in California, I stayed briefly in an old house on a five acre piece of farmland that now contains over two hundred and fifty dwelling units."And so it goes and so it goesAnd so it goes and so it goesBut where it's going no one knows."--Nick LoweThe Ivory-billed Woodpecker must have been one heck of a bird. Big, noisy, powerful, and fierce, it once existed all over what is now the US South, and its plumage and/or head was prized by Native Americans for decoration and as an amulet. Indians from the North would offer much in trade for their own specimens. Once the white boys arrived, they too killed the Ivory-billed because of the big bucks involved. THE RACE TO SAVE THE LORD GOD BIRD utilizes the story of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker as the centerpiece for a fascinating and vital history that portrays the long and belated evolution of the "bird lovers," from the guys who loved them, shot them by the dozen, and sold them to collectors the world over, to the first modern ecologists who arose in the 1930s. Trying, at that point, to solve the mysteries of how the Ivory-billed fit into its environment, and whether there was a way to save the handful that still then existed, we read of the heroic determination by a few to prolong the life on earth of what many once called "that Lord God bird."From James Audubon to the Audubon Society and beyond, THE RACE TO SAVE THE LORD GOD BIRD is as thrilling and as scary in its consequences as one of those arcade games. And, sadly, some of the corporate characters we meet treated the birds' survival as if it were a game. The story brings us to Jim Tanner, a man of my grandfather's generation, who spent years amid mosquitos and snakes, studying the world's remaining handful of Ivory-billed Woodpeckers. All living by that time in a single, last chunk of virgin riverbottom woods in Louisiana that was owned by the Singer sewing machine company, Tanner became the only person to ever band an Ivory-billed. His 1937 photos of that feisty young chick, which they came in contact with while its parents hunted for food and which they named Sonny Boy, show the proud young bird strutting atop his partner's hat. Returning to the Audubon society with the photos and a plea for immediate action, Tanner was singularly responsible for the Society's last ditch effort to save the Ivory-billed.It is ironic that that last ditch effort was ended by a war. A self-proclaimed money grubbing corporation, utilizing imported Nazi POWs as cheap replacement labor, deliberately destroyed that last stand of Ivory-billed habitat before it could be saved. Now, as this powerful and sure-to-be-an-award-winning book comes to press, as thousands of species continue to become extinct every year, it is ever so hard to concentrate on such abstract issues as the pending extinction of some rare bird or bug. The economy has been crappy for years, so many have no health care, and we're all focused on photos of what soldiers are doing to prisoners for the sake of democracy. There isn't much brain room for nature.But as the US population inexorably marches toward the 300 million mark--twice what it was when I was born a half-century ago--it is essential for today's young adults to begin considering what kind of world they want to spend their lives in. THE RACE TO SAVE THE LORD GOD BIRD illuminates the kind of important decisions that must be made, where making the wrong decision--or even no decision--will bring about irrevocable results for the planet.Richie Partington

  • Judy
    2019-04-25 15:39

    This is another book about birds that reads easily and re-enforces the importance of preserving habitat. Every reader probably closes the book with a desire to see one of these birds in the wild, knowing full well that they're extinct. I do wonder if someday scientists will be able to clone some of these birds from the skins saved in museums. But even if they did, would there by the habitat necessary for their survival?p 154: The Ivory-bill's story challenges us to understand creatures on their own terms. Can we get smart enough fast enough to save what remains of our biological heritage? Can we learn to understand and protect creatures that we can't own, pet, walk, or even feed? Can we learn to respect things that might seem ugly, small, and unimportant, simply because we share an experience as living creatures?

  • Renae
    2019-05-16 19:49

    This book was fascinating and depressing at the same time. Something quite heartwrenching about the most-likely failed effort to protect the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.I only wish they'd invested in color illustrations where they could. The book was clearly a labor of love, and I know many of the photos were black-and-white, but there where obviously ways they could have added color to make the book even more striking.

  • Edward Sullivan
    2019-04-28 19:54

    One of the best nonfiction books ever written. A mesmerizing true story about the desperate attempts to save a species from extinction.

  • Lillian Reeves
    2019-05-09 12:30

    This is an amazing book. The author's tone is thoughtful and inviting and reads like fiction. PH is a master story teller. Additionally, I am from the Southeast and considering the history of this part of the country through the story of ivory billed woodpecker's extinction was fascinating. I'm using this book in a number of my undergraduate classes and I've recommended it as the critical inquiry book for all incoming freshmen. I strongly recommend it for young people and adults.

  • Eddie Callaway
    2019-04-30 12:44

    A conservationist's must read; the story of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is important for future conservation efforts. The fact that the country allowed this bird to go extinct is one of the saddest, pathetic failures of environmental history.

  • Alana
    2019-05-09 17:24

    very interesting. i want to go searching myself now.

  • Shazzer
    2019-05-02 17:28

    As posted on Outside of a Dog:One of the best heist films I’ve ever seen is not really a heist film at all. Nothing is stolen, though the rules are thoroughly broken. This particular film is called Man on Wire, a documentary directed by James Marsh which tells the story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit who in 1974 strung a wire between the World Trade Center Towers in New York City and spent the better part of an hour walking back and forth, evading police and capturing the attention of the world (This story was dramatized in the Caldecott winning picture book The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein). What makes the film so successful is its appropriation of the heist film tropes (the plan, the execution, etc.) to tell a real life story. I bring this up, because in reading Phillip Hoose’s masterful The Race to Save the Lord God Bird I was strongly reminded of mysteries and thrillers I’ve read where the ending is doubtful, but the clues continue to pile up. Hoose tells the story of the “Lord God” bird, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker like it were a detective story. We meet the usual suspects, good and bad, responsible for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker’s disappearance and reappearance through time. There are mysterious occurrences and unexplained rumors abound. What was once a plentiful population dwindles through hunting (which continued to happen even after the species was named endangered) and the destruction of their habitat. Finally, all that is left of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker are a few credible but unsubstantiated sightings.Hoose’s writing is so neat and so clever, his prose reads like good fiction. This is a classic mystery, a natural whodunit. In addition to being a well told tale, the story of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is a perfect example of the need for preservation, a story of the people who fought for that preservation and how laws came into effect to achieve it. I was prompted to read this book in anticipation of Hoose’s newest ornithological tome, Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. I can only hope that this new title lives up to the high standard set by its predecessor.

  • Cinnamon
    2019-05-04 13:50

    The ivory-billed woodpecker was a bird that roamed the wetlands and ancient forests of the southern U.S. The species specialized in in stripping oak and cypress trees of their bark in search of grubs, its principal food. They were large woodpeckers with beautiful plumage and extremely strong beaks. The ivory-bill, or Lord God bird, as many people called it, was highly prized by bird collectors in the late 1800s. During that time, the best way to study the birds closely was to kill and stuff them. Some collectors paid hunters to bring in hundreds of the birds. Eventually, mindsets changed and people began to realize that if these birds were hunted for collections, there would be no more in the wild. The Audubon Society and others helped educate the public and especially children about conservation. But at the same time that the public became aware of the plight of birds like the ivory-billed, lumber companies became extremely interested in the old growth forests of the South. Habitat was quickly destroyed and the ivory-billed woodpecker's territory was depleted until they could be found in only one small area known as the Singer Tract in Louisiana. Scientists raced to try to save this majestic bird.Very interesting book with lots of great stories about the men who fought to save the species.

  • Josie
    2019-05-08 18:54

    The Race to Save the Lord God BirdBy Philip HoosePublished by Melanie Kroupa Books2004Non FictionThis non fiction book by Philip Hoose focuses the plight of the Ivory billed woodpecker. Though it is primarily concerned with the Ivory billed, Hoose forays into several interesting topics including conservation, the timber industry, and Cuba's ivory billed woodpecker. All the topics covered are seamlessly woven together to create a saddening, yet realistic picture for the reader of what can happen to species if humans do not stop destroying the planet. There is a great glossary and index, along with many pages of sources and important dates to remember. While the pictures are few (hardly any images of the ivory bill exist) they are extremely powerful and awe inducing to see the bird Hoose describes so eloquently. The text is written in a more narrative style, which is easy to read and understand, since it is not too scientific. Boys and girls will thoroughly enjoy this book as it caters to many topics of interest: history, nature, mystery, travel, conservation and birds.

  • EOL Juv Staff
    2019-04-25 16:48

    The Ivory-billed woodpecker is a magnificent, strong bird. At least, it was…before it became extinct. But does anyone know for sure if it’s actually gone for good?How did the Ivory-billed woodpecker, also called the Lord God bird (as in, “Lord God, what a bird!”) come to be one of the rarest and most searched-for species of bird in the United States, and why? Collectors, scientists, and bird-watchers from all over were willing to spend harrowing days in swamps or mountains to catch a single glimpse – or even just hear the call – of the elusive bird. Researcher James Tanner and other dedicated team members did what they could to count the birds and protect their habitats, but big businesses making lots of money steadily encroached on their forests.Read about some of the crazy reasons the birds were killed, the passionate people who did all they could to try and save them, and the rumors of recent sightings. Is the Lord God bird just a ghost now, or are there still a few of them out there?If you like to read true animal stories or are interested in saving endangered species and ecosystems, you’ve got to give this book a try.reh

  • Melissa
    2019-05-04 14:49

    what a sad book. it seems much too grave and depressing a topic to be a children's book, but i guess much of children's literature is morbid, sad, or just plain grown-up in subject matter (bridge to terabithia, i'm looking at you!). what's even sadder in this case is that it's a true story. i'm often guilty of romanticizing anything old or vintage, assuming that people were somehow more virtuous or pure of character 'back then,' but this book makes it abundantly clear how false that idea is! it was heartbreaking to read how cavalierly the ivory-billed woodpecker was once killed, merely for hat plumes or for the sake of getting a drawing of the bird. even more heartbreaking that once ornithologists knew the ivory-billed woodpecker was endangered, they could do little to save the bird, facing big business and an apathetic government. how little things have changed! i am not quite done with this book, but though i am thoroughly enjoying this read, i do not hold out much hope for a happy ending for the lord god bird.

  • Laura
    2019-05-04 17:38

    The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was last seen in the United States over sixty years ago. This book explores the reasons for its possible extinction, and the hope for conservation. I loved this book-- in simple terms and with touching stories, Hoose presents the characters involved in the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker's extinction, and the characters who tried to help save it. While written for children, my library has it in the adult section because of its appeal to adults as well. Nice size format and large print with generous images. Includes a glossary of terms, source information, and an index.Useful quote:"The most telling nickname of all came from an exclamation uttered by those who suddenly caught sight of an arrow-like form ripping through the highest leaves of a deep forest, unfolding its three-foot-wide wings to the size of a flag, and then finally swooping straight up to sink its mighty claws into the thick trunk of a cypress tree. At such moments, all a dumbstruck witness could say was 'Lord God, what a bird!'" (p. 26)

  • Heather
    2019-05-18 20:34

    Such an interesting book. This was on my to-read list as a 2005 ALA Notable Children's book, but after reading this year's Printz winner (Where Things Come Back), I moved it up in the list. Why the connection between the books? If you've read Mr. Whaley's book, you will know that the Lazarus Woodpecker is another name for the ivory-billed woodpecker or Lord God Bird. So I decided to find out more about these bizarre (and, to me, extremely creepy looking - think pterodactyl on a small scale) birds. Phillip Hoose, who also wrote the fabulous Claudette Colvin, is a talented writer, and his books are fascinating. Though the length may seem rather long for anyone who doesn't love birds, I think non-bird lovers will still be intrigued by the story of the life and destruction of this woodpecker.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-11 19:27

    Informative book about the possible and all too probable demise of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (still, “hope is the thing with feathers”). I wound up with a couple of unexpected connections to this story: James Tanner, the young graduate student who spent three years studying the Ivory-billed Woodpecker for the Audubon Society in the 1930s eventually established the Graduate Program in Ecology at the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!). Also, the rumor that an Ivory-bill was heard in South Carolina prompted the establishment of the Congaree Swamp National Monument in the 1970s. It had not occurred to me to wonder about the origins of that beautiful natural area, one of my favorite places in South Carolina.

  • Betsy
    2019-05-11 12:54

    This was a wonderful book. In telling the story of the apparent demise of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, Hoose gives us the history of the conservation movement as well. Plus, he writes beautifully and uses the neatest little facts to illuminate history. For instance, "The [Civil:] War wounded so many people that in 1866 one-fifth of Mississippi's total income was spent on artificial arms and legs." I loved getting to know ornithologist James Tanner, and, on top of everything else, the book makes you want to tromp out in the woods and hike forever. Wonderful.

  • Sandy Brehl
    2019-05-04 16:35

    Hoose has shared the remarkable success story of B95 in Moonbird, but in this title he documents the flip side of that in revealing the extent to which mankind and "civilization" can so easily eliminate an entire species by altering the habitat. All woodpeckers are remarkably evolved and typically gorgeous, but the likely-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker is/was extraordinary. As a call-to-action and recounting of the development of the modern conservation movement, this book and this bird deserve everyone's attention.

  • Jess
    2019-05-16 14:46

    Hoose tells the history of the life and (most likely) extinction of the Ivory-billed woodpecker.Detailed, extensive, well-written and researched YA nonfiction. Included all sorts of topics from plume wars (lady's fashionable additions causing distruction) to the lumber industry, to it's supposed extinction. Hoose makes bird (and even bird watching) interesting. Who knew this could be such an interesting topic?

  • Margie
    2019-05-10 14:38

    Note: this is a revised and updated edition of the original book which was published in 2004. Impressive! Lots of research accomplished to compile this story of hunting for the unusual and possibly extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker. This story encompasses exploration, ecology, botany, adventure and mystery. At times it reads like suspense. For anyone interested in birds, the environment, etc this is a must-read.

  • Vicki
    2019-05-13 12:36

    Planet Earth is now in the middle of the 6th big wave of mass extinction-but it's idfferent now, human's are consuming/altering the habitats of many creatures. This wonderful book is a tribute to a few men Jim Tanner an dGiraldo Alayon who in the arly to mid 1900's studied, researched and tried to save the Ivory-Bill woodpecker primaryly found in the Souther part of the US, until its habitate has been virtually destroyed by logging.

  • Marianne
    2019-05-18 13:54

    Intriguing account of the ivory billed woodpecker and its loss of habitat. Interesting to note that it was published just before the sighting in Arkansas 10 years ago, which was never repeated. Very thorough in examining the personalities involved in trying to save the last birds, well written to hold the reader's interest. If you like ecology, nature and history, you should read this book.

  • Marianne
    2019-05-04 14:48

    I read this book after Phillip Hoose talked at the Beehive dinner. It was a great book, and I especially liked the chapters about the Cornell Ornithology department. That was the department my dad entered when he began his PhD in 1953. Dr. Allen had accepted him into the program, but then he retired before Dad got there! I love books I have connections with.

  • David Ward
    2019-05-19 20:53

    The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2004)(598.72). This is an excellent account of the disappearance of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. It was known as “The Lord God Bird” for what unsuspecting travelers in the swamp or the woods often said when surprised by this loud and massive bird at close range. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 2005.

  • Nikki
    2019-05-12 19:26

    I'm not a huge "bird" person myself, but I found this story both saddening and inspiring. It's amazing to read about how badly people wanted to protect the Ivory-billed woodpecker, and how excited they would get at reports of a possible sighting. The Ivory-bill carries with it an almost-mythical aura, inspiring people to take some of the first steps toward conservation and preservation.

  • Jan
    2019-05-06 18:28

    This wonderful account of the race to keep the Lord God Bird, a large and vivid woodpecker, from extinction is completely riveting. This is the best non-fiction--the kind that captures your imagination from start to finish. I had tears in my eyes when I reached the chapter where Hoose reports on the possible sighting of the bird thought to be extinct.

  • June
    2019-05-07 16:53

    Very sad tale of the extinction of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker despite the best efforts of some incredible and dedicated individuals. A real eye-opener. I have a renewed respect for those on the front lines of conservation efforts!Perfectly explains the reasons that each and every species is so important to all of us.Great tie-in for readers of " True Blue Scouts of Sugarman..."

  • Patricia
    2019-05-21 19:27

    Have wanted to read this title for a long time & am so glad I finally got to it! A great historical study of the rare (and probably now extinct) Ivory-billed Woodpecker, found in the southern U.S. It's just sad that it no longer exists, except in photos & recordings. At least scientists are no longer killing the last specimens of endangered species like they did in the 20th century!

  • Leonard
    2019-04-29 18:34

    A captivating account of the tragic extinction of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, if it is extinct. It's a grim reminder of what we've lost and also what we stand to lose if we don't take seriously our obligation to protect the environment and other species.

  • David
    2019-04-23 12:30

    Delightfully detailed look at the history of an extinct bird and how it came to be extinct. The beauty and tragedy of this bird is well told, and accessible to young and old, who in fact accessed it (Sierra and me).

  • Charis
    2019-04-25 14:50

    This should be required reading for every American. It tells American history from a conservationist perspective.... a very sad story, let me tell you! But it is so beautifully and smoothly written.