• The Bald Eagle

  • The Improbable Journey of America's Bird
  • By: Jack E. Davis
  • Narrated by: Dan John Miller
  • Length: 15 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (22 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Gulf, a sweeping cultural and natural history of the bald eagle in America.

The bald eagle is regal but fearless, a bird you’re not inclined to argue with. For centuries, Americans have celebrated it as “majestic” and “noble,” yet savaged the living bird behind their national symbol as a malicious predator of livestock and, falsely, a snatcher of babies. Taking us from before the nation’s founding through inconceivable resurgences of this enduring all-American species, Jack E. Davis contrasts the age when native peoples lived beside it peacefully with that when others, whether through hunting bounties or DDT pesticides, twice pushed Haliaeetus leucocephalus to the brink of extinction.

Filled with spectacular stories of Founding Fathers, rapacious hunters, heroic bird rescuers, and the lives of bald eagles themselves - monogamous creatures, considered among the animal world’s finest parents - The Bald Eagle is a much-awaited cultural and natural history that demonstrates how this bird’s wondrous journey may provide inspiration today, as we grapple with environmental peril on a larger scale.

Includes a downloadable PDF of images from the book

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2022 Jack E. Davis (P)2022 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

"A majestic history of the bald eagle and how it has reflected the nation’s changing relationship to nature.... The author’s consistently lively, captivating narrative celebrates the naturalists, scientists, activists, artists (Andy Warhol, among them), politicians, and breeders who have championed the extraordinary “charismatic raptor".... A rousing tale of a species’ survival." (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

What listeners say about The Bald Eagle

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Ruined by Political Bias

What could have been a great story was frequently interrupted by attacts on former President Donald J Trump. I was really excited when this book got recommended to me because I love the bald eagle and the beautiful country it represents. It took me 3x longer than average to listen to this because the author frequently interrupted the narrative with sidebars that did not work for me. There are some very strong moments in this book (The history of both Challenger and Old Abe) but they are few and far between.

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Decent, second half was better

The first half was a bit of a slog. Giving historical context to eagle symbology in USA culture, way too wordy without painting a clear concise picture.

Second half was good, outlining biology of the birds, significance to Indigenous groups, and contemporary political and social issues surrounding wildlife.

A big issue was how the Endangered Species Act and the hunting/fishing population was handled by the writer. The North American model of conservation is funded by hunters and anglers. While irresponsible, illegal poaching and slaughter of predators and game species was a major problem, hunters and anglers are aligned in their goals with any true conservationist: healthy ecosystems that include the plants, fungi, and all animal species on the landscape. A more balanced, objective viewpoint would have made the last few chapters better.