Praise for Owls of the Eastern Ice

Mr. Slaght’s book is a stellar example of the fruitful intersection of scientific inquiry, conservation advocacy and wilderness adventure. It belongs to a rare species of nature writing in which facts are delivered with both exactitude and storytelling panache. Consummate practitioners include John McPhee and Helen Macdonald….“Owls” is replete with the narrative excitements of serious stakes, daunting challenges and disappointing setbacksWall Street Journal

From the very first pages, Slaght…grips readers with vivid language and tight storytelling. The cast of characters he brings to life—both human and avian—illuminates the delicate symbiosis of the natural world and sheds a welcome light on the remarkable creatures that are too little known. Top-notch nature writing in service of a magnificent, vulnerable creature.Kirkus starred review

Slaght’s extensive field research is rendered into clear, readable prose, making it a solid choice for bird lovers, but also for armchair travelers looking for eco-adventure on the fringes of civilization.Library Journal starred review

“refreshingly old-school, a tautly strung adventure” Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk

“In this vigorous, you-are-there natural history, Jonathan C. Slaght takes us on a heroic quest through one of the planet’s most fascinating and least explored ecoregions. Somewhere in this wintry world inhabited by tigers and bears, poachers and mystics, lurks an enormous owl all but unknown to the outside world. Slaght’s account of his intrepid search for this elusive creature is matched only by his portraits of the humans who share that same forest.” —John Vaillant, author of The Tiger

“I loved Jonathan C. Slaght’s Owls of the Eastern Ice. It is a riveting adventure with one of the rarest and most fascinating birds in one of the remotest regions of the globe, with most interesting people.” —Bernd Heinrich, author of Ravens in Winter

“In Owls of the Eastern Ice, biologist Jonathan C. Slaght shares a world few outside the Russian Far East have ever even heard of—a harsh land of frozen rivers and snowy forests, hungry tigers, radioactive hot springs, weird hermits, and, lording over it all, the largest and most mysterious of all owls. Part scientific exploration, part adventure story, it is at its heart a rumination on learning the heart of a wilderness to save it.” —Scott Weidensaul, author of Living on the Wind

“Until Jonathan C. Slaght, the world’s largest owls were mythic, seldom-seen forest phantoms. With this book, Slaght takes us with him to the wild and remote forests of the Russian Far East on a quest to track and study Blakiston’s fish owls. It is an absorbing account, richly detailed and gracefully written with humor and empathy. Owls of the Eastern Ice is a superb narrative devoted to the natural history and conservation of a rare and beautiful species.” —George B. Schaller, author of The Deer and the Tiger

“It’s said that there are two kinds of great stories—a stranger comes to town, and a person goes on a journey. Slaght’s brilliant book is the latter, a gripping tale of his quest to find—and save—one of the world’s most magnificent creatures. Along the way, we get a rare inside view of a land, a people, an elusive owl, and ultimately, the human spirit. Anyone who loves birds, science, travel, or just a riveting read will love this book.”
—Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Genius of Birds

Owls of the Eastern Ice is thrilling, high-spirited adventure that beautifully evokes Russia’s Far East and the strange, hardy beings, both human and wild, who inhabit it. Jonathan C. Slaght survives swift rivers, rapacious poachers, and ungodly quantities of cheap vodka in his heroic quest to protect the Blakiston’s fish owl, a creature that’s as wondrous and fierce as the landscape it haunts. Slaght’s story won’t just make you fall in love with a bird you’ve never seen, it will give you a new appreciation for the tenacity and resourcefulness of wildlife biologists on both sides of the Pacific.” —Ben Goldfarb, winner of 2019 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter