Biography of Connecticut Sen. George P. McLean celebrates his legacy of bird conservation.

Birders everywhere owe a debt of gratitude to a U.S. senator and Connecticut governor who stood up for wildlife in the early 20th century and saved billions of birds from slaughter.

Republican Sen. George P. McLean and his progressive environmental agenda is the subject of the new biography, A Connecticut Yankee Goes to Washington: Senator George P. McLean, Birdman of the Senate, by Will McLean Greeley, published by RIT Press.

Greeley and McLean are distant relatives born nearly 100 years apart. McLean lived from 1857 to 1932 and had a “rags-to-riches American tale,” Greeley writes.

The senator’s life spanned three periods of U.S. history, from the Gilded Age to the Progressive Era and the Roaring Twenties, during which he witnessed huge technological advancements, such as the advent of electricity, the internal combustion engine, the telephone, and the airplane. McLean, who grew up on a farm, led a public life in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. “He knew eight U.S. presidents, advised five of them, and hunted and fished with four,” Greeley writes.

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