The Secret History of Bigfoot: Field Notes on a North American Monster

Sourcebooks. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781464216633. $26.99. TRAV
What does Bigfoot have to do with Trumpism, economic insecurity, or the ivory-billed woodpecker? Quite a bit, according to O’Connor, a journalist and self-labeled skeptic. He takes readers on what he calls a “Bigfoot walkabout,” which stretches from Walden Pond, MA, to Texas. This is unlike the average book about Bigfoot: it’s elevated by O’Connor’s jaunty writing style, which flows as he recounts famous encounters with the humanlike legendary creature and relates relevant factoids from American history (sprinkled with the occasional expletive) and anecdotes from folks he meets as he explores in the woods, on porches, in cultural centers, and at conventions. Along the way, he discusses some interesting facets of “squatching,” the search for and investigation of the mythical creature. For example, he notes the solidarity and community-building that Bigfoot hunting provides, along with the problematic aspects of mostly white Bigfoot enthusiasts appropriating Indigenous stories and retroactively applying them to Bigfoot lore. He also explains the difference between the two camps of Bigfoot searchers: “the flesh-and-blood” and “the woo.”
VERDICT This wildly informative investigative narrative about Bigfoot is definitely worth reading. It’s best suited for nonbelievers, but readers convinced that Bigfoot exists will have a great time too.
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