What is so compelling about falconry? Tim Gallagher mines his lifelong obsession with falcons for an answer in this engaging volume interweaving memoir, history, and travelogue. An entire subculture exists outside the mainstream of American society consisting of obsessed individuals (Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and film-writer Tony Huston among them) who still use the ancient training techniques and language of falconry. Gallagher finds that his personal story connects on many levels with that of Frederick II, the thirteenth-century Holy Roman Emperor, legendary falconer, and notorious freethinker who brought the full wrath of the medieval church down upon his dynasty. While following Frederick's footsteps through southern Italy, Gallagher ponders his personal history as well. What salve to his spirit did falconry provide when it ignited his passion at age twelve? Beset by a turbulent childhood dominated by a brutal and violent father, Gallagher turned to this sport for emotional release. He offers us a unique glimpse into the contemporary falconry subculture, and the result is a surprisingly frank and revealing personal story.
About the Author
As TIM GALLAGHER was working on his book The Grail Bird, he was among the first to sight the long-thought-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas, which led to a multi-million-dollar effort to confirm the sighting and protect the bird's dwindling habitat. The sighting changed the direction of the book, for which Gallagher won the Outdoor Writers Association of America's Best Book award for 2005. Gallagher is editor-in-chief of Living Bird magazine and of the Journal of the North American Falconers' Association.
"An exhilarating, personal narrative." - New Hampshire Union Leader
"Frederick and his story become a shadow that is always finding new ways to reappear in this fascinating look at a lively subculture too often unnoticed in America." - Barnes & Noble Review
"A poignant, introspective volume." - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette