John O’Connor presents 'The Secret History of Bigfoot: Field Notes on a North American Monster'

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?


Third Place Books is delighted to welcome John O'Connor to our Ravenna store! O'Connor will be discussing his new book on the wonder of a beloved PNW creature, The Secret History of Bigfoot: Field Notes on a North American Monster. This event is free and open to the public.

For important updates, registration is highly recommended in advance. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About The Secret History of Bigfoot. . .

Bigfoot is an instantly recognizable figure. Through the decades, this elusive primate has been featured in movies and books, on coffee mugs and 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 curious to learn more. So, 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? 

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.


Praise for The Secret History of Bigfoot. . .

"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

"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

"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

"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

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

John O’Connor, a self-proclaimed back country bumbler and incurable literary sleuth, is a journalist and regular contributor to the New York Times Travel Section and other publications. O’Connor also has developed many connections within the Bigfoot and cryptozoology enthusiast communities, as well as his fellow journalists (and the Venn diagram between the two is not what you might think)! He teaches travel writing and lives with his family in Cambridge, MA.

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

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