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The Race to Save the Lord God Bird

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  271 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
The tragedy of extinction is explained through the dramatic story of a legendary bird, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, and of those who tried to possess it, paint it, shoot it, sell it, and, in a last-ditch effort, save it. A powerful saga that sweeps through two hundred years of history, it introduces artists like John James Audubon, bird collectors like William Brewster, an ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 11th 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published January 1st 2004)
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Richie Partington
Jan 29, 2012 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
10 May 2004 THE RACE TO SAVE THE LORD GOD BIRD by Phillip Hoose, Farrar Straus & Giroux, August 2004, ISBN: 0-374-36173-8

"Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone" --Joni Mitchell

"Before white settlement, more than one-quarter of all the birds in what is now the United States were Passenger Pigeons. They were so abundant that in 1810 Alexander Wilson saw a flock pass overhead that was a mile wide and 240 miles long, containing over two billion birds. That f
Jul 24, 2010 Renae rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rachelle DeMunck
Shelves: books-i-own
This book was fascinating and depressing at the same time. Something quite heartwrenching about the most-likely failed effort to protect the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.

I only wish they'd invested in color illustrations where they could. The book was clearly a labor of love, and I know many of the photos were black-and-white, but there where obviously ways they could have added color to make the book even more striking.
Edward Sullivan
One of the best nonfiction books ever written. A mesmerizing true story about the desperate attempts to save a species from extinction.
Eddie Callaway
May 09, 2017 Eddie Callaway rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
A conservationist's must read; the story of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is important for future conservation efforts. The fact that the country allowed this bird to go extinct is one of the saddest, pathetic failures of environmental history.
Sep 06, 2012 Shazzer rated it it was amazing
As posted on Outside of a Dog:

One of the best heist films I’ve ever seen is not really a heist film at all. Nothing is stolen, though the rules are thoroughly broken. This particular film is called Man on Wire, a documentary directed by James Marsh which tells the story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit who in 1974 strung a wire between the World Trade Center Towers in New York City and spent the better part of an hour walking back and forth, evading police and capturing the attention of the wo
The ivory-billed woodpecker was a bird that roamed the wetlands and ancient forests of the southern U.S. The species specialized in in stripping oak and cypress trees of their bark in search of grubs, its principal food. They were large woodpeckers with beautiful plumage and extremely strong beaks. The ivory-bill, or Lord God bird, as many people called it, was highly prized by bird collectors in the late 1800s. During that time, the best way to study the birds closely was to kill and stuff them ...more
Apr 15, 2009 Josie rated it it was amazing
The Race to Save the Lord God Bird
By Philip Hoose
Published by Melanie Kroupa Books
Non Fiction

This non fiction book by Philip Hoose focuses the plight of the Ivory billed woodpecker. Though it is primarily concerned with the Ivory billed, Hoose forays into several interesting topics including conservation, the timber industry, and Cuba's ivory billed woodpecker. All the topics covered are seamlessly woven together to create a saddening, yet realistic picture for the reader of what can happen
Emmet O'Neal Library- Children's Department
The Ivory-billed woodpecker is a magnificent, strong bird. At least, it was…before it became extinct. But does anyone know for sure if it’s actually gone for good?

How did the Ivory-billed woodpecker, also called the Lord God bird (as in, “Lord God, what a bird!”) come to be one of the rarest and most searched-for species of bird in the United States, and why? Collectors, scientists, and bird-watchers from all over were willing to spend harrowing days in swamps or mountains to catch a single glim
Aug 24, 2008 Melissa rated it liked it
what a sad book. it seems much too grave and depressing a topic to be a children's book, but i guess much of children's literature is morbid, sad, or just plain grown-up in subject matter (bridge to terabithia, i'm looking at you!). what's even sadder in this case is that it's a true story.

i'm often guilty of romanticizing anything old or vintage, assuming that people were somehow more virtuous or pure of character 'back then,' but this book makes it abundantly clear how false that idea is! it
Apr 11, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was last seen in the United States over sixty years ago. This book explores the reasons for its possible extinction, and the hope for conservation. I loved this book-- in simple terms and with touching stories, Hoose presents the characters involved in the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker's extinction, and the characters who tried to help save it. While written for children, my library has it in the adult section because of its appeal to adults as well. Nice size format and la ...more
Such an interesting book. This was on my to-read list as a 2005 ALA Notable Children's book, but after reading this year's Printz winner (Where Things Come Back), I moved it up in the list. Why the connection between the books? If you've read Mr. Whaley's book, you will know that the Lazarus Woodpecker is another name for the ivory-billed woodpecker or Lord God Bird. So I decided to find out more about these bizarre (and, to me, extremely creepy looking - think pterodactyl on a small scale) bird ...more
Nov 29, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it
Informative book about the possible and all too probable demise of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (still, “hope is the thing with feathers”). I wound up with a couple of unexpected connections to this story: James Tanner, the young graduate student who spent three years studying the Ivory-billed Woodpecker for the Audubon Society in the 1930s eventually established the Graduate Program in Ecology at the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!). Also, the rumor that an Ivory-bill was heard in South Caroli ...more
Sep 05, 2009 Betsy rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book. In telling the story of the apparent demise of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, Hoose gives us the history of the conservation movement as well. Plus, he writes beautifully and uses the neatest little facts to illuminate history. For instance, "The [Civil:] War wounded so many people that in 1866 one-fifth of Mississippi's total income was spent on artificial arms and legs." I loved getting to know ornithologist James Tanner, and, on top of everything else, the book makes ...more
Sandy Brehl
Hoose has shared the remarkable success story of B95 in Moonbird, but in this title he documents the flip side of that in revealing the extent to which mankind and "civilization" can so easily eliminate an entire species by altering the habitat. All woodpeckers are remarkably evolved and typically gorgeous, but the likely-extinct ivory-billed woodpecker is/was extraordinary.
As a call-to-action and recounting of the development of the modern conservation movement, this book and this bird deserve
Jun 12, 2008 Jess rated it it was amazing
Hoose tells the history of the life and (most likely) extinction of the Ivory-billed woodpecker.

Detailed, extensive, well-written and researched YA nonfiction. Included all sorts of topics from plume wars (lady's fashionable additions causing distruction) to the lumber industry, to it's supposed extinction. Hoose makes bird (and even bird watching) interesting. Who knew this could be such an interesting topic?
Apr 02, 2016 Margie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note: this is a revised and updated edition of the original book which was published in 2004. Impressive! Lots of research accomplished to compile this story of hunting for the unusual and possibly extinct Ivory-billed Woodpecker. This story encompasses exploration, ecology, botany, adventure and mystery. At times it reads like suspense. For anyone interested in birds, the environment, etc this is a must-read.
Jun 11, 2012 Vicki rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
Planet Earth is now in the middle of the 6th big wave of mass extinction-but it's idfferent now, human's are consuming/altering the habitats of many creatures. This wonderful book is a tribute to a few men Jim Tanner an dGiraldo Alayon who in the arly to mid 1900's studied, researched and tried to save the Ivory-Bill woodpecker primaryly found in the Souther part of the US, until its habitate has been virtually destroyed by logging.
Jun 26, 2014 Marianne rated it it was amazing
Intriguing account of the ivory billed woodpecker and its loss of habitat. Interesting to note that it was published just before the sighting in Arkansas 10 years ago, which was never repeated. Very thorough in examining the personalities involved in trying to save the last birds, well written to hold the reader's interest. If you like ecology, nature and history, you should read this book.
May 14, 2012 Mari rated it really liked it
I read this book after Phillip Hoose talked at the Beehive dinner. It was a great book, and I especially liked the chapters about the Cornell Ornithology department. That was the department my dad entered when he began his PhD in 1953. Dr. Allen had accepted him into the program, but then he retired before Dad got there! I love books I have connections with.
David Ward
Feb 05, 2010 David Ward rated it really liked it
The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2004)(598.72). This is an excellent account of the disappearance of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. It was known as “The Lord God Bird” for what unsuspecting travelers in the swamp or the woods often said when surprised by this loud and massive bird at close range. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 2005.
Mar 07, 2008 Nikki rated it really liked it
I'm not a huge "bird" person myself, but I found this story both saddening and inspiring. It's amazing to read about how badly people wanted to protect the Ivory-billed woodpecker, and how excited they would get at reports of a possible sighting. The Ivory-bill carries with it an almost-mythical aura, inspiring people to take some of the first steps toward conservation and preservation.
Sep 18, 2014 Jan rated it really liked it
This wonderful account of the race to keep the Lord God Bird, a large and vivid woodpecker, from extinction is completely riveting. This is the best non-fiction--the kind that captures your imagination from start to finish. I had tears in my eyes when I reached the chapter where Hoose reports on the possible sighting of the bird thought to be extinct.
Very sad tale of the extinction of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker despite the best efforts of some incredible and dedicated individuals. A real eye-opener. I have a renewed respect for those on the front lines of conservation efforts!
Perfectly explains the reasons that each and every species is so important to all of us.
Great tie-in for readers of " True Blue Scouts of Sugarman..."
Feb 04, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Have wanted to read this title for a long time & am so glad I finally got to it! A great historical study of the rare (and probably now extinct) Ivory-billed Woodpecker, found in the southern U.S. It's just sad that it no longer exists, except in photos & recordings. At least scientists are no longer killing the last specimens of endangered species like they did in the 20th century!
Oct 04, 2010 Leonard rated it it was amazing
A captivating account of the tragic extinction of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, if it is extinct. It's a grim reminder of what we've lost and also what we stand to lose if we don't take seriously our obligation to protect the environment and other species.
Jul 07, 2009 David rated it really liked it
Delightfully detailed look at the history of an extinct bird and how it came to be extinct. The beauty and tragedy of this bird is well told, and accessible to young and old, who in fact accessed it (Sierra and me).
Feb 06, 2008 Charis rated it it was amazing
This should be required reading for every American. It tells American history from a conservationist perspective.... a very sad story, let me tell you! But it is so beautifully and smoothly written.
“Tells the story of the ivory-billed woodpecker's extinction in the United States, describing the encounters between this species and humans, and discussing what these encounters have taught us about preserving endangered creatures.”
Aug 05, 2010 Betsy rated it it was amazing
The ivory-billed woodpecker. Extinct. Or maybe not. People have devoted their lives to studying and tracking this bird and the story of it is nothing less than amazing. I believe anyone would love this book, even if you're not a bird lover. Fantastic book...just wish the outcome was a bit better.
Angela Dibeneditto
Jan 06, 2015 Angela Dibeneditto rated it did not like it
A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't.
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Phillip Hoose is the widely-acclaimed author of books, essays, stories, songs, and articles, including the National Book Award winning book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice.

He is also the author of the multi-award winning title, The Race to Save the Lord God Bird, the National Book Award Finalist We Were There Too!: Young People in U.S. History, and the Christopher Award-winning manual for
More about Phillip M. Hoose...

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