It has been said that Audubon invented the nature-art coffee-table book, a form which enables us to admire and be awed by the wild without having to deal directly with its more unpleasant aspects. That he did, but that is not all. More powerfully than any other visual artist, he gave sharp form and clean focus to the vague sense and unspoken hopes that so many have had about the mythic essence of America. He caught on the wing the imaginative truth of this place and of ourselves. As many subsequent events have cruelly demonstrated, the romantic view is by no means the most corrupt or the most destructive way of looking at the world.