Pilgrims of the Air: The Passing of the Passenger Pigeons

by John Wilson Foster

Pilgrims of the Air: The Passing of the Passenger Pigeons
Pilgrims of the Air: The Passing of the Passenger Pigeons
Pilgrims of the Air: The Passing of the Passenger Pigeons
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Pilgrims of the Air: The Passing of the Passenger Pigeons

by John Wilson Foster

This is a story of a scarcely credible abundance, of flocks of birds so vast they made the sky invisible. It is also a story, almost as difficult to credit, of a collapse into extinction so startling to the inhabitants of the New World as to provoke a mystery.

In the fate of the North American passenger pigeon we can read much of the story of wild America – the astonishment that accompanied its discovery, the allure of its natural ‘productions’, the ruthless exploitation of its ‘commodities’ and the ultimate betrayal of its peculiar genius.

And in the bird’s fate can be read, too, the essential vulnerability of species, the unpredictable passage of life itself.

‘John Wilson Foster’s masterful narrative is both cautionary tale and superb history writing. It is also an astute lament for the loss of an older, more noble America and, with it, a creature of great beauty.
Eileen Battersby’s non-fiction 'Books of the year'
‘A gem in every sense: small but perfect in the hand, elegantly written and full of evocative, deeply researched interest, both in the bird and American social history.’
Michael Viney, Irish Times
‘One of the loveliest of literary meditations on the pigeon and its fate.’
Rick Wright, Birding
‘Wonderfully well written and constructed, and with some completely astounding detail magisterially marshalled into a containing, ramifying (and terrible) narrative.’
Neil Corcoran

Description

This is a story of a scarcely credible abundance, of flocks of birds so vast they made the sky invisible. It is also a story, almost as difficult to credit, of a collapse into extinction so startling to the inhabitants of the New World as to provoke a mystery.

In the fate of the North American passenger pigeon we can read much of the story of wild America – the astonishment that accompanied its discovery, the allure of its natural ‘productions’, the ruthless exploitation of its ‘commodities’ and the ultimate betrayal of its peculiar genius.

And in the bird’s fate can be read, too, the essential vulnerability of species, the unpredictable passage of life itself.

Additional information

Weight 0.25 kg
Dimensions 19 × 12 × 1.5 cm
Cover Type

Hardcover

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