NON-FICTION: Vasty Audition

One hundred years ago, between 1808 and 1834, an immense, full-bodied man wandered through the wilds of this continent, from the cypress swamps of Florida to Labrador and west to the Rockies. He carried a gun and a sketchbook. His dog padded behind him on the trails.

He had a way of turning up at backwoods settlements, bearded, his pockets bulging, his underclothes gone. The latter he had used up for gun wads. His pockets contained bird skins, sheafs of notes, manuscript. He was the naturalist, John James Audubon, whose grandmanner personality made...

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