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The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century (Hardcover)

| Viking Pr | 4/24/2018

ISBN-10 : 110198161X   ISBN-13 : 9781101981610   List Price : $27.00

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Overview

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 London's 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, armed with a pair of latex gloves, a miniature LED flashlight, and a diamond-blade glass cutter. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose coppery orange, emerald, and iridescent blue feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin's obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying, in which exotic feathers are fastened in intricate patterns around fishing hooks. Over the next few hours, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins--some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin's, Alfred Russel Wallace, who'd risked everything to gather them--and escaped into the darkness.

Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico, fly-fishing for trout, when his 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 from a museum? 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, infiltrating the underground network of fly-tiers and feather smugglers, and tracking down the thief and his suspected accomplices in a single-minded search for the missing birds. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man's relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man's destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.

Product Details

  • ISBN-10: 110198161X
  • ISBN-13: 9781101981610
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 320
  • Dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.00 (d)