Helen Macdonald - Author

About the Author

Helen Macdonald is a writer, poet, illustrator, historian and affiliate at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. Her books include Falcon (2006) and Shaler's Fish (2001).

Featured books by Helen Macdonald

H is for Hawk

H is for Hawk

Author: Helen Macdonald Format: Hardback Release Date: 31/07/2014

Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2014. Winner of the Costa Biography Award 2014. Winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize 2014. 'In real life, goshawks resemble sparrowhawks the way leopards resemble housecats. Bigger, yes. But bulkier, bloodier, deadlier, scarier, and much, much harder to see. Birds of deep woodland, not gardens, they're the birdwatchers' dark grail.' As a child Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. She learned the arcane terminology and read all the classic books, including T. H. White's tortured masterpiece, The Goshawk, which describes White's struggle to train a hawk as a spiritual contest. When her father dies and she is knocked sideways by grief, she becomes obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She buys Mabel for GBP800 on a Scottish quayside and takes her home to Cambridge. Then she fills the freezer with hawk food and unplugs the phone, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals. 'To train a hawk you must watch it like a hawk, and so gain the ability to predict what it will do next. Eventually you don't see the hawk's body language at all. You seem to feel what it feels. The hawk's apprehension becomes your own. As the days passed and I put myself in the hawk's wild mind to tame her, my humanity was burning away.' Destined to be a classic of nature writing, H is for Hawk is a record of a spiritual journey - an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald's struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk's taming and her own untaming. At the same time, it's a kaleidoscopic biography of the brilliant and troubled novelist T. H. White, best known for The Once and Future King. It's a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to try to reconcile death with life and love.

Other books by Helen Macdonald

Falcon

Falcon

Author: Helen Macdonald Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/09/2016

The fastest animal alive, the falcon deserves attention not just for the combination of speed, power, beauty and ferocity that has made it an object of fascination for thousands of years, but for the light it sheds on the cultures through which it has flown. This book, bridging science and cultural history, surveys the practical and symbolic uses of falcons in human culture in new and exciting ways. Bestselling natural history writer Helen Macdonald follows the movements of the falcon, her personal experience and knowledge of falconry enriching the history and lore of this bird of prey. She ranges across the globe and over many millennia, taking in natural history, myth and legend, falconry, science and conservation, and falcons in the military, in urban settings and the corporate world. Along the way we discover how falcons were mobilized in secret military projects, their links with espionage, the Third Reich and the space programme, and even how they have featured in erotic stories. Originally published in 2006, this revised 2016 edition features a new introduction. Combining in-depth practical, personal and scientific knowledge, Macdonald offers a fascinating account of the place of these birds in human history. Falcon is for lovers of the countryside, birdwatchers or anyone who has ever wondered why falcons are so compelling.

H is for Hawk (The Birds and the Bees)

H is for Hawk (The Birds and the Bees)

Author: Helen Macdonald Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2016

The Birds and the Bees series was designed for Vintage Classics by Timorous Beasties, the Scottish studio famous for their designs inspired by the natural world. As a child, Helen Macdonald was determined to become a falconer. Years later, when her father died, she became obsessed with the idea of training her own goshawk. She bought Mabel for GBP800 on a Scottish quayside and took her home to Cambridge, ready to embark on the long, strange business of trying to train this wildest of animals. Her story is an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald's struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk's taming and her own untaming. WINNER OF THE 2014 SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE

H wie Habicht

H wie Habicht

Author: Helen Macdonald Format: eBook Release Date: 07/08/2015

Der Spiegel-BestsellerDer Tod ihres Vaters trifft Helen unerwartet. Erschttert von der Wucht der Trauer wird der Kindheitstraum in ihr wach, ihren eigenen Habicht aufzuziehen und zu zhmen. Und so zieht das stolze Habichtweibchen Mabel bei ihr ein. Durch die intensive Beschftigung mit dem Tier entwickelt sich eine konzentrierte Nhe zwischen den beiden, die trstend und heilend wirkt. Doch Mabel ist nicht irgendein Tier. Mabel ist ein Greifvogel. Mabel ttet. "e;Um einen Greifvogel abzurichten, muss man ihn wie einen Greifvogel beobachten, erst dann kann man vorhersagen, was er als Nchstes tun wird. Schlielich sieht man die Krpersprache des Vogels gar nicht mehr - manscheint zu fhlen, was der Vogel fhlt. Die Wahrnehmung des Vogels wird zur eigenen. Als die Tage in dem abgedunkelten Raum vergingen und ich mich immer mehr in den Habicht hineinversetzte, schmolz mein Menschsein von mir ab."e; Helen MacdonaldEin Buch ber die Erinnerung, ber Natur und Freiheit - und ber das Glck, sich einer groen Aufgabe von ganzem Herzen zu widmen. "e;[Macdonalds] anschaulicher Stil - verblffend und auerordentlich przise - ist nur ein Teil dessen, was dieses Buch ausmacht. Die Geschichte vom Abrichten Mabels liest sich wie ein Thriller. Die allmhlich und behutsam anwachsende Spannung lsst den Atem stocken ... Fesselnd."e; Rachel Cooke Observer* New York Times Bestseller* Costa Award fr das beste Buch des Jahres 2014* Samuel Johnson Prize

H Is for Hawk

H Is for Hawk

Author: Helen Macdonald Format: eBook Release Date: 03/03/2015

When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer captivated by hawks since childhood, she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators: the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral anger mirrored her own. Resolving to purchase and raise the deadly creature as a means to cope with her loss, she adopted Mabel and turned to the guidance of The Once and Future King author T. H. White's chronicle The Goshawk to begin her journey into Mabel's world. Projecting herself "e;in the hawk's wild mind to tame her"e; tested the limits of Macdonald's humanity.By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, this book is an unflinching account of bereavement, a unique look at the magnetism of an extraordinary beast, and the story of an eccentric falconer and legendary writer. Weaving together obsession, madness, memory, myth, and history, H Is for Hawk is a distinctive, surprising blend of nature writing and memoir from a very gifted writer.

Human Remains Dissection and Its Histories

Human Remains Dissection and Its Histories

Author: Helen Macdonald Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/03/2011

Until 1832, when an Act of Parliament began to regulate the use of bodies for anatomy in Britain, public dissection was regularly-and legally-carried out on the bodies of murderers, and a shortage of cadavers gave rise to the infamous murders committed by Burke and Hare to supply dissection subjects to Dr. Robert Knox, the anatomist. This book tells the scandalous story of how medical men obtained the corpses upon which they worked before the use of human remains was regulated. Helen MacDonald looks particularly at the activities of British surgeons in nineteenth-century Van Diemen's Land, a penal colony in which a ready supply of bodies was available. Not only convicted murderers, but also Aborigines and the unfortunate poor who died in hospitals were routinely turned over to the surgeons. This sensitive but searing account shows how abuses happen even within the conventions adopted by civilized societies. It reveals how, from Burke and Hare to today's televised dissections by German anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, some people's bodies become other people's entertainment.

Falcon and the Hawk, The (Afternoon Play)

Falcon and the Hawk, The (Afternoon Play)

Author: Helen Macdonald Format: eBook Release Date: 01/01/1970

Helen Macdonald is a falconer and poet. She keeps a goshawk called Mabel. As a child she fell in love with a rare book of intense nature writing, J.A. Baker's The Peregrine, which records a winter watching wild peregrines on the Essex coast. Her new play brings her birds and his together. Baker tramps the bleak coastal marshes scanning the skies for fleeting moments of bloody drama as a peregrine stoops at immense speed after a plover or a pigeon. Helen woos her captive-bred goshawk in her spare bedroom - acclimatising it to human noise and human movement. Baker crouches over a half-dead pigeon and finishes it off for the wild falcon; Helen walks the city street with a goshawk on her fist. Their stories begin to fly closer to one another. Starring David Birrell as J. A. Baker, Gemma Lawrence as Young Helen and Helen Macdonald as herself. Part recorded on location at The Bird of Prey Centre in Newent, Gloucestershire. Producer: Tim Dee.

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