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Richard Bach

Author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull

59+ Works 24,126 Members 394 Reviews 64 Favorited

About the Author

A direct descendant of the composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Bach was born in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1936. He attended Long Beach State College in 1955 and had a successful career in aviation, as an Air Force pilot, a flight instructor, an aviation mechanic, and an editor for Flying magazine. show more Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the novel that made him famous, was written as the result of a vision. Halfway through the book, the vision disappeared and, finding that he was unable to continue, Bach, put the novel aside. When the vision reappeared, Bach finished the work. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, published in 1972, was an unexpected success and became the best-selling book in the United States for that year. The book is heavily influenced by Bach's love of flying and provides a marvelous inspirational message. The Bridge Across Forever: A Love Story, One, Messiah's Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul (2004), and Hypnotizing Maria (2009) are some of his other novels that blend inspiration, love, fantasy, and hope. In recent years Bach has written Thank Your Wicked Parents: Blessings from a Difficult Childhood (2012), Rainbow Ridge and Travels with Puff: A Gentle Game of Life and Death (2013), NiceTiger, (Bowker Author Biography) He is the author of eleven books, including Stranger to the Ground, Biplane, A Gift of Wings, Illusions, One, and Running from Safety. (Publisher Provided) show less
Image credit: Офиц. сайт Баха


Works by Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970) 11,635 copies
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (1977) — Author — 4,678 copies
One (1988) 1,605 copies
A Gift of Wings (1974) 735 copies
Stranger to the Ground (1963) 332 copies
Biplane (1974) 303 copies
Nothing by Chance (1973) 284 copies
Rescue Ferrets at Sea (2002) 150 copies
Hypnotizing Maria (2009) 132 copies
Air Ferrets Aloft (2002) 123 copies
Mensages para siempre (1999) 12 copies
Aforizmalar (2012) 3 copies
Meraklilar (2011) 2 copies
Holidays on Ice 2 copies
Izvan sebe (2000) 1 copy
پندار 1 copy
Jedro 1 copy

Associated Works

Jonathan Livingston Seagull [1973 film] (1973) — Original book — 53 copies
Eleven American Stories — Contributor — 1 copy


20th century (74) allegory (121) American (91) American literature (92) animals (80) autobiography (56) aviation (152) Bach (58) biography (73) birds (81) classic (75) classics (90) fable (45) fantasy (266) fiction (2,212) flight (66) flying (49) goodreads (46) inspiration (111) inspirational (338) literature (166) memoir (48) metaphysics (46) narrativa (54) New Age (187) non-fiction (132) novel (260) own (82) paperback (83) philosophy (702) read (280) religion (121) Richard Bach (118) romance (56) seagulls (69) self-help (88) spiritual (160) spirituality (479) to-read (362) unread (50)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Bach, Richard
Legal name
Bach, Richard David
Oak Park, Illinois, USA
Places of residence
Ashland, Oregon, USA
Orcas Island, Washington, USA
Winter Haven, Florida, USA
Ottumwa, Iowa, USA
Long Beach, California, USA
California State University, Long Beach (Long Beach State College)
Fineman, Bette Bach (wife|divorced)
Bach, James Marcus (son)
Parrish, Leslie (wife|divorced)
United States Air Force Reserve
New Jersey Air National Guard
United States Navy Reserve
Short biography
Richard Bach, a pilot and aviation writer, achieved success as a new age author with the publication of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a novel that Bach maintains was the result of two separate visionary experiences over a period of eight years. Bach's simple allegory with spiritual and philosophical overtones received little critical recognition but captured the mood of the 1970s, becoming popular with a wide range of readers, from members of the drug culture to mainstream Christian denominations. A direct descendant of Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard David Bach was born in Oak Park, Illinois, to Roland Bach, a former United States Army Chaplain, and Ruth (Shaw) Bach. While attending Long Beach State College in California, he took flying lessons, igniting his lifelong passion for aviation. From 1956-1959 he served in the United States Air Force and earned his pilot wings. In the 1960s he directed the Antique Airplane Association and also worked as a charter pilot, flight instructor, and barnstormer in the Midwest, where he offered plane rides for three dollars a person. During this period, he worked as a free-lance writer, selling articles to Flying, Soaring, Air Facts, and other magazines. He also wrote three books about flying which were Stranger to the Ground (1963), Biplane (1966), and Nothing by Chance (1969).

Since Jonathan Livingston Seagull, he has continued to share his philosophies on life, relationships, and reincarnation in six different books.



This book gave me a lot to think of. Raised in a household of atheists who were the children and/or grandchildren of devout Christians, I found it gave me a way to think about spirituality and religion in a different way.
I imagine there are a lot of people who find it troubling because of its messianic tones. I did not have that kind of reaction.
scraps | 76 other reviews | May 5, 2024 |
Richard Bach’s first book, Stranger to the Ground is above all else an insight into the character of a man whose great compulsion is to measure himself against storm and night and fear. On the surface it is the tale of a memorable mission of a young fighter pilot utilizing his skills in a lonely duel with death. Yet between the lines emerges the portrait of the airman as a breed, probing outward, but even more significantly, inward.
MasseyLibrary | 4 other reviews | Apr 30, 2024 |
Forty years after my first encounter with Jonathan Livingston Seagull, I stumbled upon a well-worn first edition in my local thrift store. I remembered, somewhat fondly, how I had absolutely no clue what the book was about when I tackled it for high school English. Now, older and wiser, I decided to give it another go. What I discovered was a profound reflection of my own life story.

At its heart, Richard Bach's novella is not simply a story about a bird; it's a philosophical exploration of personal freedom, the relentless pursuit of excellence, and the quest for meaning. Like Jonathan Gull, I've often traveled my own path, driven by a cocksure belief that there's more to life than the conventional pursuits of my peers (girls, booze, football, etc.). If this resonates with you and your own stirrings of discontent, then this tale might just speak to you too.

My journey, much like Jonathan's, was shaped by an insatiable curiosity and a refusal to bow to the limitations imposed by others. Self-improvement—learning—was part of my fabric. I was propelled not by a need for recognition but by a desire to make a difference and achieve the (mostly non-material) things I wanted to achieve. In Jonathan's relentless (and often frustrating) efforts to master flight, this same desire was evident. His story reflects every person's potential to transcend their own (and externally imposed) limits through hard work and self-improvement.

I must admit, the spiritual aspects of Jonathan's journey—his ascent to higher realms—remain as elusive to me now as they did forty years ago. (I didn't understand it in Bach's other work of the 70s, Illusions, either.) The spiritual quest still escapes my full grasp, yet I sense its importance to those in search of meaning (and perhaps solace?) beyond the tangible. In this light, I can appreciate Jonathan's ascension as a metaphor for the journey toward enlightenment.

The most relatable aspect of Jonathan's saga is, perhaps, his resilience in the face of adversity. From challenges in my childhood to those in my career, I've faced my share of skeptics and barriers. Yet, I chose never to quit, even when tempted. My strength, much like Jonathan's, came through perseverance despite being ostracized by his flock. Passion. Dedication. These are the bedrocks of conviction, the forces that propel us forward despite obstacles.

Reflecting on the structure of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, it's now strikingly obvious how Bach divided the tale into three distinct parts, each echoing a distinct stage in life's journey—a nuance my teen self completely missed. The first part captures the zeal of youth, reflecting curiosity and defiance of conventions. The second examines introspection and learning, like the soul-searching I did in middle age. The final segment, where Jonathan becomes a teacher and mentor, reflects the later stages of life, where sharing wisdom and guiding others becomes a newfound purpose.

Duh. But not too obvious to someone still in the throes of adolescence.

However, now that I'm enlightened, I can see the book's enduring message:
We choose our next world through what we learn in this one. Learn nothing, and the next world is the same as this one, all the same limitations and lead weights to overcome.
This quote encapsulates the essence of Bach's work—the belief in the boundless potential of the individual to learn and grow. I've lived in many worlds throughout my life, each one distinct (and perhaps better?) than the last, enriched by lessons learned from both success and failure.

Whether you're in pursuit of personal freedom, dedicated to self-improvement, or a resilient soul navigating adversity, you can grow and succeed. Jonathan Gull's story reminds us that we can soar to heights previously unimagined, so long as we are willing to spread our wings.
… (more)
howermj | 210 other reviews | Feb 29, 2024 |



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Russell Munson Photographer, Illustrator
Kaija Kauppi Translator
Tom Bean Cover designer
Joan Stoliar Designer
Ron Wegen Illustrator
K. O. Eckland Illustrator


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