If you pay any attention to birds and try to keep a field guide handy, then you have probably lived through several field guides although you remember your first with more happy memories than any since then. The American and world fraternity of birders have an interesting history, told by Thomas R. Dunlap in In the Field, Among the Feathered: A History Of Birders & Their Guides.
The three giants pictured with this review were and are great in their time, John James Audubon, Roger Tory Peterson, and David Allen Sibley; but they do not carry the whole story. Dunlap introduces you to names you may have known and forgotten or missed entirely. The initial fumbling steps of writers trying to create something new for birders were the progenitors for Roger Tory Peterson who went on to build an empire of field guides. There were many challenges to Peterson, a few more successful than most. It was inevitable that a new writer would achieve preeminence. The new empire belongs to David Allen Sibley, but he should not sleep late.
Birders love their field guides and will never be satisfied to say, no I don’t need another. Most birders will find part of their birding history captured in this delightful book about birding you will not need to keep in the trunk of your car. This one can stay at home. Charles Marlin