1970 1st year edition; The Macmillan Company publishers, New York; photographs by Russell Munson; hardbound with blue boards and embossed seagull on cover; silver lettering on spine; very good conditon with unmarked pages; no dust jacket.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach, and illustrated by Russell Munson is a fable in novella form about a seagull who is trying to learn about life and flight, and a homily about self-perfection. Bach wrote it as a series of short stories that were published in a soaring magazine in the late 1960s. It was first published in book form in 1970, and by the end of 1972 over a million copies were in print. Reader's Digest published a condensed version, and the book reached the top of the New York Times Best Seller list, where it remained for 38 weeks. In 1972 and 1973, the book topped the Publishers Weekly list of bestselling novels in the United States. In 2014 the book was reissued as Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition, which added a 17-page fourth part to the story.
The book tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a seagull who is bored with daily squabbles over food. Seized by a passion for flight, he pushes himself, learning everything he can about flying, until finally his unwillingness to conform results in his expulsion. An outcast, he continues to learn, becoming increasingly pleased with his abilities as he leads a peaceful and happy life.
One day, Jonathan meets two gulls who take him to a "higher plane of existence" in which there is no heaven but a better world found through perfection of knowledge. There he meets another seagull who loves to fly. He discovers that his sheer tenacity and desire to learn make him "pretty well a one-in-a-million bird." In this new place, Jonathan befriends the wisest gull, Chiang, who takes him beyond his previous learning, teaching him how to move instantaneously to anywhere else in the Universe. The secret, Chiang says, is to "begin by knowing that you have already arrived." Not satisfied with his new life, Jonathan returns to Earth to find others like him, to bring them his learning and to spread his love for flight. His mission is successful, gathering around him others who have been outlawed for not conforming.
Ultimately, the very first of his students, Fletcher Lynd Seagull, becomes a teacher in his own right, and Jonathan leaves to teach other flocks.