It’s not a great idea to have two books coming out within days of each other in the same month – but these things happen. And, as friends have said, it’s better than not having two books coming out within days of each other in the same month.
On 20 July, Behind the Binoculars – interviews with acclaimed birdwatchers is published by Pelagic.
This is a series of interviews with birdy people – people who are keen on birds. But they are also people, and their stories are interesting in their own rights.
The interviewees are: Ian Newton, the late Phil Hollom, Rebecca Nason, Chris Packham, Steph Tyler, Debbie Pain, Stuart Winter, Lee Evans, Steve Gantlett, Mark Cocker, Ian Wallace, Andy Clements, Mike Clarke, Roger Riddington, Stephen Moss, Alan Davies and Ruth Miller, Robert Gillmor (who also is responsible for the gorgeous jacket) and the two ‘authors’ (myself and Keith Betton).
The interviewees (and authors) have just received their copies of the book and it looks lovely – we think.
What does Ian Newton say about gamekeepers? What does Mark Cocker say about twitching? What does Mike Clarke say about the RSPB’s new direction? Which of the interviewees was kidnapped? Which saw a Red-backed Shrike while doing a school exam? And which had their best day’s birding in Buccoo Marsh, Tobago, in 1998?
All the answers to these questions, and more, are in the 252 pages of this book. As are photographs of Chris Packham 31 years apart, Robert Gillmor 41 years apart, Keith Betton 47 years apart, Ian Wallace 56 years apart, and myself looking cute.
If you ordered Behind the Binoculars now, then you’d get it around publication date, and would have finished it (on first read – you will keep going back to it) before Inglorious – conflict in the uplands appears on 30 July, published by Bloomsbury.
It sets out the case for going much further than anyone else has suggested, and banning driven grouse shooting completely. So, nothing controversial there.
It talks about Hen Harriers, and Peregrines and Golden Eagles and Goshawks but also about greenhouse gas emissions, flood risks and water pollution. It contains a short history of grouse shooting in the UK and also a wholly fictional account of a gamekeeper looking back on events from 2040.
Rumours seem to abound about Inglorious already! I’ve been told that The Times has already written an excoriating review of it (even though they haven’t seen it yet) and that the cover price has edged up because Bloomsbury want a war chest to fight libel suits! Neither seems very likely to me – particularly because lawyers have crawled all over it already!
Listen here to me talking to Charlie Moores of Talking Naturally (in association with Rare Bird Alert and Wildsounds and Books)(and of Birders Against Wildlife Crime) about it and other things if you’d like to hear about my thirst for 570 pints of beer and some mild criticism of wildlife NGOs.
Look out for the next copy of Birdwatch magazine for lots of information about Hen Harrier Day 2015 and some excerpts from Inglorious. And Rare Bird Alert are the first to have reviewed Inglorious – see here for a very kind review.
Inglorious is available to order from Bloomsbury at a discounted price right now – so that you can be reading it before anyone else.
And, by the way, I keep being asked by shooters ‘how much of the proceeds from Inglorious will go to conservation projects?’ as if all authors had to donate their income to such causes. The answer is that there aren’t any profits yet, and won’t be, for years, if the book sells as expected. Hardly anybody makes money from writing books, and certainly not from books that are campaigning for change. Funny, nobody, shooters or others, asked me that question about the other books on this page.
Other books are available.
In particular, why not try A Message from Martha – also from Bloomsbury, about the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon a century ago, but more importantly, what we should learn from it…
…or Fighting for Birds, published by Pelagic, which is an account of how UK nature conservation works, and how it doesn’t, and how it should! A good guide for anyone who wants to get a job in nature conservation – and actually, for anyone who has a job in UK nature conservation.