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The Peregrine

Narrated by: David Attenborough
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Summary

The nation's greatest voice, David Attenborough, reads J. A. Baker's extraordinary classic of British nature writing, The Peregrine.

J. A. Baker's classic of British nature writing was first published in 1967. Greeted with acclaim, it went on to win the Duff Cooper Prize, the pre-eminent literary prize of the time. Luminaries such as Ted Hughes, Barry Lopez and Andrew Motion have cited it as one of the most important books in 20th-century nature writing.

Despite the association of peregrines with the wild, outer reaches of the British Isles, The Peregrine is set on the flat marshes of the Essex coast, where J. A. Baker spent long winters looking and writing about the visitors from the uplands peregrines that spend the winter hunting the huge flocks of pigeons and waders that share the desolate landscape with them.

©1967 J. A. Baker (P)1967 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

 "A literary masterpiece, one of the 20th century's outstanding examples of nature writing." (Independent

"Passionately fierce but also wonderfully tender." (Andrew Motion)

 

"An inspiring example to future writers, and a gift to lovers of nature." (Times Literary Supplement)

What listeners say about The Peregrine

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Spiritual, poetic Baker and lyrical Attenborough

I have managed to not read this book for nearly 30 years and known about for about 40. What a hideous oversight that seems to have been.

I've just completed my third back-to-back listen and am mesmerised by Baker's wonderful metaphor.

Baker is the epitome of the English amateur, writing observational natural history with the attention to detail of the Victorian entomologist-cum-parson and a poetic style that the greatest nature poets would have hailed.

Attenborough reads the text honourably and in his own style. He is quite the right reader of this extraordinary text.

Mark Cocker and Robert McFarlane both eulogise about Baker's work in a very valuable afterword, as well as providing essential historical, geographical and critical content to the work.

3 people found this helpful

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the one

iconic not to be missed. A life changing masterpiece of a book.vivid and brilliant like being hypnotised. Read it

1 person found this helpful

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Entrancing

Wonderful moving prose delivered with impeccable gravitas by Sir David.
Highly recommended listening and as a book to be sipped like a fine wine.

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Poor narration.

I'm surprised to be saying this, but peregrines kill other birds to survive. It's nature, not the Greek tragedy that this narration makes it out to be. I gave up half way through because of this.

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A timeless, escapist masterpiece.

Beautiful prose which can be enjoyed over and over again. A timeless, escapist masterpiece. Thank you Mr Baker and thank you for making an audible version.

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Outstanding! My FAVOURITE thing on AUDIBLE

It would be good enough for there to be a naturalist as acutely observant, diligent and devoted to his subject as John Alec Baker, but when one discovers that he is also an outstandingly good writer, producing prose to make one weep, and then top that by asking David Attenborough to read that prose, in such an understanding and sympathetic way and you have a sublime combination. This has rapidly become by faourite audiobook, which is saying something for a fiction reader. It's fantastic fro beginning to end, it will draw you into another world and soon have you wishing you were part of that world. It is a masterpiece of naturalism but also of perserverence, humility and forbearance and written with prose to melt any heart. I cannot rate it highly enough - listen to it, you will not be disappointed!

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A unique and poetic work

Over the course of a single winter, Baker 'mans' a tiercel Peregrine without taking it from the wild. He pursues it through its wintering grounds until it accepts him. His diary of his winter's 'hawk-hunting' is so beautifully created almost any lines of the prose could be set down as poetry. But more than that, every detail of the winter wildlife and landscape described here rings like a church bell with truth and acute observation.

It will slay any nature lover willing to pay it attention. (Even Lord Macfarlane, the king of the Cambridge nature-mafia, emulates J.A. Baker in his writing style at times.)

Baker's only other work, The Hill of Summer, is acutely observed and very nicely written, but is without the singular purpose of this masterpiece. He was, I think, a man apart. A patient observer and interpreter of the natural world, and a poetic genius.

One of my top three books of all time. Brilliantly read too.

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  • TJ Granack
  • 04-12-19

A perfect meditation on the natural world

It doesn't matter where I drop the needle on this meditative collection of thoughts and observations, I'm always engaged, drawn-in. I love to close my eyes and let the narrator transport me into a natural world I care not to leave. Great find for me. Thank you, tj granack

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-12-19

Being a hawk!

An extraordinary mind space to go into visually with the succulent voice of David Attenborough leading the way.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • PJ
  • 09-03-20

Couldn't get through it.

There is no story told here and the facts are imparted by a narrator quite full of himself. Euw...

2 people found this helpful

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  • E. Molina
  • 29-04-20

Inefable

Baker is a man who became. He achieved a transformation that is beyond most of us. And it all began with infatuation.The magnitude of his obsession is illustrated with a brush that is both planetary and minute. The book begins with Baker's extraordinary perception, a detailed sense of the otherness of birds and ends with the author merging into that otherness, with his becoming. The lyrical gravitas of it all is so beautiful, it is almost unbearable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • charleswilters
  • 15-04-20

This is so fantastic that it makes me angry

The Peregrine is a classic, and a masterpiece. I did not think anything could be done to improve upon it, but now hearing Mr. Attenborough READ this I feel I can finally die a truly happy man. If you've already read this, or are brand new to The Peregrine please abandon anything you are currently reading and start this right now.

1 person found this helpful

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  • patrickemm1
  • 09-03-20

Masterpiece

Truly a masterpiece work of art. Attenborough brings it to a whole other level. Highly recommended!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ellen Gilmartin
  • 09-07-20

A beautiful book

The prose in the book is incredible. It is like poetry. The images conjured up by this book have enriched me.