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Taking Flight: A History of Birds and People in the Heart of America

av Michael Edmonds

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313,230,371 (5)Ingen/inga
Senast inlagd avEJFROMWI, JmGallen, UWPKarrmann



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Books dealing with nature are often studies of the animals or plants themselves. “Taking Flight” is a study of the interaction between birds and people over millennia in the central United States.
The first chapter provides an overview of what is to come. The second moves on to prehistory, those early inhabitants whose only records are found in the bones they left in their trash heaps, their earthen mounds, their carvings and the paintings on their cave walls. From these we can guess at what they ate, the birds they lived among and the parts they played in the Indians’ lives. Chapter three focuses on the lives, traditions and societies of the Indians who gathered in cities such as Cahokia within a few centuries of 1,000 B. C. Their surviving mounds and artifacts provide a clearer insight into the role birds played in their civilizations.

Chapter four advances into the societies that left no written record but whose pottery and accounts of the Europeans who met them enable us to better understand their appreciation of birds. Chapter five is the age of missionaries and explorers who interpreted birds through their religious and economic lens. Chapter six introduces the soldiers, statemen and scientists who studied and exploited avian populations. One of my favorite chapters is seven, the tales of the early ornithologists, think John James Audubon, who killed birds, yes, but left us drawings and accounts that leave us in awe today. Chapter eight studies the names the various cultures attributed to birds. In chapter nine the author entertains us with the humor and superstitions of the region. You know that the large part of a wishbone brings good luck but did you know the same results from having a cardinal cross your path? For sure! Chapter ten takes a sad turn as we read of the insatiable desire for meat and feathers and improved killing techniques turned the native attitude of taking what you need into the American desire to take all you could get and sell, leading to mass exterminations. Chapter eleven closes the book with reflections on how the author, and many bird lovers, experience our feathered friends whose songs we enjoy as they soar overhead.

Author Michael Edmonds has crafted a work that blends history with nature. It captures our imagination as we contemplate the place of birds in ancient lore and religions. It saddens us to realize how diminished the bird populations have become in recent centuries. Thankfully, he gives us something to ponder as we gaze upon the birds in our own days.

I did receive a free copy of this book without an obligation to post a review. ( )
  JmGallen | Jul 30, 2019 |
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