If you’ve read The Sword and the Stone you’ll recall the real sweetness and affection with which TH White writes the character of Archimedes, or Archie, the owl. He’s treated so kindly and preciously, with more pathos than the movie was able to achieve. So it shouldn’t be much of surprise that TH White himself loved birds, especially hawks (falcons). So in the 1930s when he tries out falconry as a hobby (or more than an hobby) it’s with this same kind of sweetness and compassion. The problem is, however, is that this is a lost art and one that he’s not actually particularly adept to. And so this book is a short accounting of these attempts. It’s not written with a lot of irony, unlike his Once and Future King, but with compassion for the bird “Gos” who becomes a close friend. And like with a lot of us with a first pets, he fails him constantly. And so the tail becomes a sad one in which he is trying to awaken a lost human art (there are still people who falcon, but it’s an increasingly arcane art and set of knowledge). And this book is a mourning of that art as well as a grieving look at how he fails his bird friend. The book is written 15 years after the events contained in it, and he tells this is part to add a layer of anonymity to the people and animals he interacts with in the story, but I think it’s also clearly an amount of time necessary for him to come to terms with the events and face them again with some years behind him.