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The natural history of humankind, told through our long relationship with birds
For the whole of human history, we have lived alongside birds. We have hunted and domesticated them for food; venerated them in our mythologies, religions, and rituals; exploited them for their natural resources; and been inspired by them for our music, art, and poetry.
In Ten Birds That Changed the World, naturalist and author Stephen Moss tells the gripping story of this long and intimate relationship through key species from all seven of the world’s continents. From Odin’s faithful raven companions to Darwin’s finches, and from the wild turkey of the Americas to the emperor penguin as potent symbol of the climate crisis, this is a fascinating, eye-opening, and endlessly engaging work of natural history.
About the Author
Stephen Moss is one of Britain’s leading nature writers, broadcasters, and environmentalists. Author of over forty books and guides, he is an award-winning wildlife television producer for the BBC Natural History Unit. He lives in Somerset, England.
Shortlisted for the Wainwright Nature Prize —--
"Moss digs deep and answers many questions within chapters that are rich with both natural and historical facts... Ten Birds That Changed the World is an engrossing tribute to our feathered neighbours."—Buzz Magazine (UK)
“[Moss] is an ideal guide to this in-depth look at 10 consequential species and the threats to their continued survival… The author’s thorough and well-argued book brings urgent attention to all the species that now face oblivion due to the global climate crisis… Take a fascinating flight into human history on the wings of 10 important bird species.”—Kirkus
“[A] penetrating history…The blend of history and science highlights the deep connections between humans and the natural world, and the cultural insights enlighten….This flies high.”—Publishers Weekly
“Stephen Moss’s Ten Birds That Changed the World is a model of contemporary nature writing. Its blend of science, history, and the cultural significance we human animals attach to the other life around us had me riveted. When I closed this book, the emperor penguins I watch online, the eagles that soar my local river, the wild raven who’s befriended me—all these and more had taken on a depth of meaning and relevance I never quite grasped before.”—Dan Flores, New York Times–bestselling author of Coyote America
“There are thousands of bird species on earth, but with a very well-chosen ten, Moss provides a panoramic look at how the feathered ones have influenced human mythology, science, politics, and even self-understanding. These interconnections are as fraught as they are beautiful in this complex time of climate crisis when so many birds, after influencing our culture for so long, now depend on humans for the possibility of survival in an uncertain future. Moss is a knowledgeable and companionable guide throughout this riveting volume, which inspires a love of birdlife that is more essential than ever.”—Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Rooted
“Moss writes with the scope of a scholar and the confidence of a careful observer, finding fresh and fascinating insights into the lives and legacies of ten iconic birds. A thoughtful, thought-provoking, and thoroughly enjoyable book.”—Thor Hanson, author of Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid
“This is a journey into an extraordinary world—an outwardly familiar world, but one that has been shaped and contoured by birds in ways we can only begin to imagine. Through the stories of those birds, Moss shows us how our lives owe so much to them, and why we should care for their kind a little more.”—Jon Dunn, author of The Glitter in the Green