REFLECTIONS ON FIELD AND STREAM by Lord Home

REFLECTIONS ON FIELD AND STREAM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The former British Foreign Minister and P.M. writes--engagingly, to be sure--of organized grouse-shoots and such on the family domain in the Scottish Lowlands. Edward I of England had a shooting lodge nearby; 300 years later, Edward VII strained the loyalty of Home's grandfather by catching a chill early on a promising October morning--whereupon the whole shooting party had to return home. Were there more such anecdotes in this small book, its remoteness from the experience of the American sportsman would be less crucial; as it is, even the tips on shooting one or another game-bird which constitute most of the contents presume the presence of keepers and beaters. Lazy shooting is also proscribed--not the pheasant ""driven in fiat country from one wood to another close by,"" but the pheasant ingeniously produced ""where it ought to be--high in the sky."" Of the habits of the birds familiar to Home from a lifetime of observation, there's very little, too, that's not pertinent to shooting them. (He's impatient with talk of ""blood-sports""--morality aisde, controlled killing conserves the population.) And though he expresses a preference for fishing over shooting, he confines himself to a chapter each on the salmon and the trout. Some fishermen might welcome his prescription for finding worms in dry weather (""Take a tablespoon of mustard. . .""); and anglers will smile at his reference to the ""dull, unimaginative fellow"" who discovered that an improvised, unprepossessing ""fly"" would catch as many salmon ""as the most gaudy of its predecessors."" But most of this is explicitly, and narrowly, addressed to ""young men"" in roughly his circumstances--regrettable not only because he's good company but also because Rodger MacPhail's wood engravings are in the best local, Bewick tradition.

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 1980
Publisher: Little, Brown