THE FEATHER THIEF by Kirk Wallace Johnson

February 1st, 2019 by Goshen Public Library Leave a reply »

 The Feather Thief has a subtitle:  Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century.  

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.  Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession:  the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying.  Once inside the museum, 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.

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.  In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation.  The gripping story of a bizarre & shocking crime, & one man’s restless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of osession, & a man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.

Man is seldom content to witness beauty.  He must possess it.  –Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea 1979

GPL: 364.162 Johnson

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