After her four kids were nearly grown and she was about to turn 50, Phoebe Snetsinger was told she had less than a year to live. Snetsinger, a St. Louis housewife and avid backyard birder, decided to spend that year traveling the world in search of birds. As it turned out, her doctors were wrong, but Phoebe's passion had been ignited and she spent the next eighteen years crisscrossing the globe recklessly staking out her quarry. En route she contracted malaria in Zambia, nearly fell to her death in Zaire, and was kidnapped and gang raped on the outskirts of Port Moresby. Yet none of this curbed her enthusiasm. By the time she died in a bus accident while birding in Madagascar in 1999, Phoebe was world renowned and had seen more species-8,500 of the roughly 10,000-than anyone in history. A fascinating portrait of a hobbiest whose obsession contributed to both her success and her demise, Life List brings Phoebe Snetsinger and the wild world of amatuer ornithology to vivid life. A one-time frustrated housewife gambled her life in pursuit of birds—this legend's amazing story illustrates the lengths to which an obsessed amatuer ornithologist went to build the biggest life list in history. Olivia Gentile earned a BA from Harvard College and an MFA from Columbia University. She has worked as a newspaper reporter for which she won the Vermont Press Association's Rookie Reporter of the Year Award and the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalist's Magazine Writing Award.