A rollicking true-crime adventure and a thought-provoking exploration of the human drive to possess natural beauty for readers of The Stranger in the Woods, The Lost City of Z, and The Orchid Thief.On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at Londons Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwins obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skinssome collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwins, Alfred Russel Wallace, whod risked everything to gather themand escaped into the darkness.Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one mans relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and mans destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature....
|Title||:||The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||320 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Download » The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century|
The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century Reviews
As a fly fisherman, fly tier, and former policeman, I found this book to be an absolute home run!
A young "savant", Edwin Rist, had everything going for him. A brilliant flautist, he and his brother (also a savant), discovered the art of tying Atlantic Salmon flies. Throwing themselves into the hobby, they soon discovered the extreme costs and rarity of some of the required feathers.
These feathers come from some of the rarest birds in the world, such as the Resplendent Quetzal, the King Bird of ...more
That was a far quicker and absorbing read than I had expected, even with the uncomfortable topic of how the skins/feathers came into place. It was particularly interesting to see that when we see the feathers as gorgeous and breathtaking, others may see it more valuable in other aspects, such as fly-tying.
(view spoiler)[On the side note, I feel for the historians/scientists a lot more - the loss to science, ouch. (hide spoiler)]
Reminds me of The Orchid Thief in its readability and theme.
This was a fascinating look into the world of salmon fly-tying. It tells the story of a young savant and how his obsession with recreating classic lures led his to steal birds from the largest museum collection in England. The author became obsessed with the case and decided to hunt down some of the missing birds. He writes about how he first found out about this case; the thief's life, the events leading up to the heist, and its aftermath; and the author's involvement after the case was officia ...more
What a fascinating book this was! The fact that somebody had the audacity to even consider breaking into the British Natural History Museum and let alone do it, was intriguing enough for me to request this on NetGalley.
The author tells an absorbing tale of how he first heard about the incident, and then how he follows the trail to find out how and why the thief did what he did.
As well as the story about the theft, the historical research into the feather industry was absolutely fascinating. I lo ...more
The Feather Thief is about one man's obsession with creating "authentic" Victorian fishing flies (colorful lures), and how that obsession leads him to rob an outpost of the British Natural History Museum in pursuit of feathers from exotic birds. If the story sounds too far-fetched, its because truth is always stranger than fiction. The book does a great job of hooking the reader and providing a wide-ranging variety of context; from the history of the globe-trotting Victorian naturalists who coll ...more
During almost the entire reading of this book I had to remind myself it was a true story. I think if the author had gone to his publisher with a story about a 20-year-old American student at the Royal Academy of Music in London who broke into a natural history museum to steal rare bird skins/feathers -- some collected by a colleague of Charles Darwin -- so he could sell them to Victorian salmon fly-tying enthusiasts.
The authorities do catch up with the thief, Edwin Rist, but his punishment is le ...more
This true crime novel can essentially be broken down into four different segments: the first being a brief look at naturalists such as Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin, followed by a brief history of Victorian Fashion and it's use of feathers from various species of birds, the heist itself by fly-tying-flautist Edwin Rist, and wrapping up with an investigation of the crime by the author, Kirk Wallace Johnson.
I picked up this book as an ARC at an independent bookstore I work at thinking t ...more