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No way but gentlenesse : a memoir of how Kes, my kestrel, changed my life / Richard Hines.

By: Hines, Richard, 1945- [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Bloomsbury, 2016Description: 271 pages : illustration ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781408868010.Subject(s): Hines, Richard, 1945- -- Childhood and youth | Falconry -- Anecdotes | Kestrels -- Anecdotes | Hines, Barry, 1939- Kestrel for a knave | Barnsley (South Yorkshire, England) -- Social life and customs -- 20th century -- AnecdotesDDC classification: 942.820945092 Summary: "Born and raised in the South Yorkshire mining village of Hoyland Common, Richard Hines remembers sliding down heaps of coal dust, hearing whispers of "accidents" in the pit, listening for the siren at the end of mine shifts, and praying for his father's safe return. At age eleven, Richard's prospects suddenly dimmed when he failed the trials for English Grammar School, though his older brother Barry, evidently their mother's favourite, had passed and seemed headed for great things. Crushed by a system that swiftly and permanently decided that some children do not merit a real education, and persecuted by the cruel antics of his English schoolteachers, Richard spent his time in the fields and meadows just beyond the colliery slag heap. One morning, walking on the grounds of a ruined medieval manor, he came across a nest of kestrels. Instantly captivated but without a role model to learn from, he sought out ancient falconry texts from the local library and pored over the strange and beautiful language there. With just these books, some ingenuity, and his profound respect for the hawk's indomitable wildness, Richard learned to "man" or train his kestrel, Kes, and in the process became a man himself. No Way But Gentlenesse is a breathtaking memoir of one remarkable boy's love for a culture lost to time, and his attempt to find salvation in the natural world."--Publisher's description.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

There is no way but gentlenesse to redeeme a Hawke Edmund Bert, 1619
Born and raised in the South Yorkshire mining village of Hoyland Common, Richard Hines remembers sliding down heaps of coal dust, listening out for the colliery siren at the end of shifts, and praying for his father's safe return. It seemed all too likely that he would follow in his father's footsteps and end up working in the pits, especially when to his mother's horror and his own he failed the 11+, so that unlike his older brother Barry, who had passed the exam to grammar school and who seemed to be heading for great things, Richard was left without hope of academic achievement.
Crushed by this, and persecuted by the cruelty of his teachers, Richard spent his time in the fields and meadows just beyond the colliery slag heap. One morning, walking in the grounds of a ruined medieval manor, he came across a nest of kestrels. Instantly captivated, he sought out ancient falconry texts from the local library, and pored over the strange and beautiful language there. With just these books, some ingenuity, and his profound respect for the hawk's indomitable wildness, Richard learned to man, or train, his kestrel, Kes, and in the process grow into the man he would become.
Richard and his experiences with kestrels inspired Barry's classic novel A Kestrel for a Knave . When production began on what would become Ken Loach's iconic film Kes , Richard found himself training the kestrels that would soar on screen and into cinematic history.
No Way But Gentlenesse is a superb, moving memoir of one remarkable boy's love for a forgotten culture, and his attempt to find salvation in the natural world.

"Born and raised in the South Yorkshire mining village of Hoyland Common, Richard Hines remembers sliding down heaps of coal dust, hearing whispers of "accidents" in the pit, listening for the siren at the end of mine shifts, and praying for his father's safe return. At age eleven, Richard's prospects suddenly dimmed when he failed the trials for English Grammar School, though his older brother Barry, evidently their mother's favourite, had passed and seemed headed for great things. Crushed by a system that swiftly and permanently decided that some children do not merit a real education, and persecuted by the cruel antics of his English schoolteachers, Richard spent his time in the fields and meadows just beyond the colliery slag heap. One morning, walking on the grounds of a ruined medieval manor, he came across a nest of kestrels. Instantly captivated but without a role model to learn from, he sought out ancient falconry texts from the local library and pored over the strange and beautiful language there. With just these books, some ingenuity, and his profound respect for the hawk's indomitable wildness, Richard learned to "man" or train his kestrel, Kes, and in the process became a man himself. No Way But Gentlenesse is a breathtaking memoir of one remarkable boy's love for a culture lost to time, and his attempt to find salvation in the natural world."--Publisher's description.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

Hines was raised by a doting father and reserved mother in a blue-collar mining town that bordered England's bucolic moors. He failed to thrive in the English school system, but he grew up filled with a self-taught love of reading and writing. Through his love of birds and passion for falconry, he was able transcend his humble beginnings and learn that there is more for him than being a miner like his dad and granddad. As his understanding of falconry grew, so did his confidence and sense of self-worth. Despite being overshadowed by his brother Barry's literary success, Hines went on to be a successful documentary filmmaker and a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. He tells his story chronologically, interspersing autobiographical sections with tales of the birds he trained. Taking the reasons he loves hawks so much-"They have no understanding of hierarchy, of social subservience; it's not in their make-up to be herded or controlled"-and applying them to his own life, Hines improves his standing in increments through hard work, education, travel, and love. This journey of self-discovery is captivating and inspiring, making it easy to see why Hines's brother Barry based his classic book, A Kestrel for a Knave, on Hines's early years. Hines sprinkles his fine narrative with quotes and lessons from Shakespeare and centuries-old falconry books. His story is grounded and uplifting, accessible yet aspirational-a pleasurable blend of conflicts that demonstrates the power of nature and the good that comes from nurturing one's passions. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

One does not expect a working-class lad raised in the shadow of the colliery that employed his father and grandfather to be interested in nature, even less in falconry. But when Hines sees a kestrel hovering in the wind, it kindles a lifelong interest. He writes of how he learned falconry from books and trained Kes, his female kestrel, which involves shooting sparrows for Kes' food and making his own falconry equipment. Here, too, are reminiscences of a young man at a loss about what to do with his life. Working in an office, then in construction, Hines continues to fly his kestrel and to read anything he could get his hands on. By joining a volunteer service and being posted to Nigeria, his eyes were further opened to social iniquities, and after attending teacher's college, he brings his love of hawks and nature to environmental studies. Ultimately, he transcends social class and secures a meaningful place in the world, success he attributes to his beloved birds. For fans of Helen Macdonald's acclaimed H Is for Hawk (2015).--Bent, Nancy Copyright 2016 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

How catching and training a kestrel changed the life of a young British boy. When Hines was 11, he failed his exams for grammar school. Unable to attend with his older brother, the author was sent to the secondary modern school, "where my education didn't matter." That was his first introduction to the English class system in the mid-1950s. Always a naturalist at heart, Hines soon was reading all he could find regarding falconry. It was near Tankersley Old Hall that he took his first kestrel, called Kes, and began training her. Now a true autodidact, his reading led him to T.H. White, T.E. Lawrence, and J.G. Mavrogordato, author of A Falcon in the Field. In hopes of visiting countries with a history of falconrye.g., Sudan, India, and nations in the Middle EastHines applied to join the Voluntary Service Overseas. The author was posted to Nigeria, where he was exposed to members of the fading British Empire and their racist, classist attitudes as well as native anger against their former rulers. Hines' return to England, where he was to begin an environmental studies program, coincided with the making of a film based on his brother's book about his kestrel training. The author trained three kestrels and served as falconer for the film, though his brother initially took all the credit. Throughout his memoir, Hines provides captivating descriptions and explanations of training the kestrels and how to "hack" them back to the wild, and the author's love of his subject inevitably shows through. His discovery that the upper-class world of falconry wouldn't have welcomed him once again exposed the social divisions of his country. His love of falconry and the environment influenced his life, and that obsession drove him to learn the history of his own class and become a television producer and director. A delightful story of a boy, his birds, and his pursuit of knowledge in spite of society's dictates. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.