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

The Secret History of Bigfoot: Field Notes on a North American Monster By John O’Connor Cover Image

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


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"A winning portrait of America at its weirdest." — Publishers Weekly STARRED Review

From the shrouded forests of the Pacific Northwest to off-the-wall cryptozoological conventions, one man searches high and low for the answer to the question: real or not, why do we want to believe?

Bigfoot is an instantly recognizable figure. Through the decades, this elusive primate has been featured in movies and books, on coffee mugs, beer koozies, car polish, and CBD oil. Which begs the question: what is it about Bigfoot that's caught hold of our imaginations?

Journalist and self-diagnosed skeptic John O'Connor is fascinated by Sasquatch. Curious to learn more, he embarks on a quest through the North American wilds in search of Bigfoot, its myth and meaning. Alongside an eccentric cast of characters, he explores the zany and secretive world of "cryptozoology," tracking Bigfoot through ancient folklore to Harry and the Hendersons, while examining the forces behind our ever-widening belief in the supernatural. As O'Connor treks through the shrouded forests of the Pacific Northwest, listens to firsthand accounts, and attends Bigfoot conventions, he's left wondering—what happens when the lines between myth and reality blur? 

Perfect for fans of Bill Bryson and Douglas Preston, and with sharp wit and an adventurous spirit, this heartfelt exploration of a cornerstone of American folklore unpacks why we believe in the things that we do, what that says about us, and how it shapes our world.

Product Details ISBN: 9781464216633
ISBN-10: 1464216630
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English

"Buoyant, wide-ranging book…O'Connor... proves to be a nimble writer…believe what you will about its existence, but there’s no doubting our culture’s fascination with the creature." — The Wall Street Journal

"Strikingly original... O’Connor is affable in the extreme, and funny, and in Bigfoot he has found an object of desire that unites in real intimacy conservationists who long for wilderness and seekers who long for transcendence." — The New York Times

"There’s some great stuff here. About myth and imagination. About the power and importance of wilderness and wildness to the human psyche. About belief, and the lies our own eyes relay to us each and every day." — The Washington Post

"A winning portrait of America at its weirdest." — Publishers Weekly STARRED Review

"Playful and chock full of kooky characters (human and beast), this informative yet raucous account is perfect for fans of Louis Theroux." — Booklist

"This is unlike the average book about Bigfoot… 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." — Library Journal STARRED Review

"Hilarious. An unforgettable blend of comic hijinx, barnburing journalism, and beautiful writing. The Secret History of Bigfoot places a peculiarly American phenomenon on the continuum of crackpot ideas and believe-whatever-you-want fantasies embedded in our past and present, tracking its life and legend while parsing various subtexts of belief, from Salishan mythology to modern day 'cryptozoology,' from clear-headed skeptics to conspiratorial kooks. His affection for Bigfooters is matched only by his honest and revelatory assessment of their beliefs. Simply one of the funniest and most entertaining books I've read in a very long time." — Kirk Wallace Johnson, bestselling author of The Feather Thief and The Fisherman and the Dragon

"Tales of monsters dwelling in the forest dark endure around the world, but there is something conspicuously, poignantly, and outlandishly American about Bigfoot. John O'Connor takes us on a jubilant journey coast to coast and across the centuries to understand why a mythic figure that seems always to be disappearing just as it comes into view has such an enduring presence. The truth may or may not be out there; The Secret History of Bigfoot is a reminder of how much fun the search for it can be." — Peter Manseau, author of The Apparitionist

"Ostensibly, this is a book about the legend of Bigfoot and the cabal of seekers who studiously attend to its myth, but it is actually a book about wildness, desire, faith, hope, loss, and the various things we sense in our bones but cannot account for. John O'Connor is a deeply smart, funny, and tenderhearted writer, and The Secret History of Bigfoot is a remarkable debut, full of wit, insight, and a devout reverence for the mysteries at the heart of our existence. I loved this book. It made me feel as though both everything and nothing are possible." — Amanda Petrusich, author of Do Not Sell at Any Price

"In The Secret History of Bigfoot, John O’Connor explores a piece of American culture that has often had a buff of exuberant goofiness on its outside, but what O'Connor's wonderful debut shows us is that beyond that sheen is something far more fascinating and profound than Bigfoot. Intoxicatingly adventurous and deftly insightful, this book is magical." — John D'Agata, author of About a Mountain