Thank you so much, everyone! I especially appreciate the eBook suggestions. Quite honestly, I usually prefer "real" books, but the long power outages with the hurricane & snowstorm made me appreciate my eBooks. While the batteries lasted, I could read in the dark
I'm using up some vacation time next week, so when I'm not in the saddle, I can be looking for books.
Two amazing books, The Diary of a Cotswold Fox Hunting Lady by Francis Witts, she kept a wonderful hunting journal from 1905 thru 1910 until she met her future husband ( she met him while out hunting ). Also, We Go Hunting Abroad: A First Venture With Irish Banks And English Downs by Charles D. Lanier. The diary of an american gentleman and his daughter from Virginia , they go hunting for several months in Ireland then on to England. Both books are wonderfully descriptive with details about hunting in both Ireland and England in the early 1900's and are available on ebay. Enjoy !
There is a newer book, by Dennis Foster, the fellow who has written extensively for Covertside, on Whipping in, which is excellent. Its about much much than just whipping in, and includes stories from his hunt trips all over the world. Informative and interesting so its a big win for me.
These are two particularly thoughtful fox hunting books which have already been mentioned in this thread, I am seconding my vote here:
Foxhunting: How to Watch and Listen by MFH, Hugh J. Robards...because - he says it already in the title - it really is about how to watch and listen to the hounds. Each chapter takes the point of view of a different "character" in the cast of characters (even the fox). Very educational and readable.
Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, Siegfried Sassoon. A thinly-veiled autobiography of the British poet's early years (he pretends he is the main character George Sherston). Beautifully written, elegiac account of what it must have been like to fox hunt as a pure, nervous beginner in an "ordinary" middle-class/upper middle-class English village in 1880s-1910s. This was really the book that started it all, for some readers. Sassoon is famous for his WWI poetry. He was also related to the immensely wealthy Jewish family, the Sassoons, but the money didn't trickle down to him. So this is a really weird, interesting account of a young man wanting to fox hunt and be a somebody, and being painfully self-conscious about it.
In an extraordinary example of "pay it forward", Sassoon wrote about being inspired to get into fox hunting by the 19th century novels of R.M. Surtees; readers of Sassoon then became inspired, in turn, to fox hunt!
Surtees is worth reading and collecting (roughly analogous to Dickens) but feels very dated for a modern American audience; Sassoon still feels contemporary.
You can find these books on Amazon. I hope you enjoy them.
The Fox in the Cupboard--story of a British woman who takes up riding and hunting as an adult, right at the time of the Foot and Mouth epidemic and the move to ban hunting in England. Very engaging (and funny) personal story interwoven with current events.
Foxhunting Adventures: Chasing the Story by Norman Fine--Several short essays about hunting in all kinds of different territories by the former editor of Covertside, current editor of Foxhunting Life