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The Fall of a Sparrow

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  116 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
In this engaging autobiography, India's greatest ornithologist Salim Ali recounts his exciting experiences in the outdoors and chronicles his unusual love of birds. Eighty-seven at the time of writing and an internationally renowned figure, he vividly describes expeditions to almost every part of the subcontinent, including the old Princely States, Burma, Sikkim, Tibet, ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published February 8th 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published February 6th 1986)
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Jan 29, 2016 Priya rated it liked it
Full review on Tabula Rasa.

Even as I write this review, I am reminded of a quote I keep quoting from The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, about how writers can be wholly different from their books. This is not exactly the same, but even so, it is a case of discovering what your childhood hero was really like, stacking achievements alongside failings, and loving him for all of them. A crazy, beautiful read - is how I would sum it up. The Fall of a Sparrow has been on my wishlist for a long while
Feb 05, 2013 Preeti rated it it was ok
I was actually nauseated reading about all that shooting and roasting of sparrows, bar-headed geese and other assorted wildlife!
Nov 07, 2012 Rohidas rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 21, 2011 Poonam rated it it was ok
I had read this before - but couldn't recall much except that for the purposes of study birds were hunted, stuffed and mounted by ornithologists. On the second reading as adult, I now know the reason why. Due to work as well as tedious writing - book was a slow read. Moreover, there aren't many riveting highlights and those that are somehow lost in drab, matter-of-fact way of telling. Humour appears briefly on and off - not enough to keep it engaging. Yet book is not devoid of content.

You learn
Jaya Kumar K
Jul 14, 2012 Jaya Kumar K rated it it was amazing
‘The Fall of a Sparrow’ narrates the real life story of Salim Ali, father of Indian Ornithology. This engaging auto-biography describes how Salim Ali chose the road not taken. After all the ordeals in life that one normally faces in Indian society when they chose to be different from the madding crowd, Salim Ali – a simple man with just a pair of binoculars in his hand becomes a trailblazer in the field of Indian Ornithology. In the process of this description, he does not fail to bring out the ...more
Dec 01, 2012 Pat rated it liked it
Was given this as a gift in advance of a birding trip to Northern India (which did not materialize ... yet). Very idiosyncratic, poorly edited autobiography of the man considered the father of Indian ornithology. Charming decriptions of middle-class life in pre-Independence and -Partition India.
It is clanging to a modern reader to learn about how birds had to be shot to be catalogued. There seems to be no dichotomy in Ali's time between conservation and this practice, plus big-game hunting. He
Sep 30, 2013 vaishnavi rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
The fact that the book was an illustrated version came as a surprise to me. A very nicely illustrated book that gives a very brief picture of the life of Salim Ali. I wish it could have been a little more elaborate and a little bit more interesting..
Namratha Babu
Aug 09, 2014 Namratha Babu rated it liked it
autobiographies are always interesting.I likes birds very much and this book is about salim ali's experience. so, ilike the book too...................
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