Boria Sax

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Boria Sax

Distributed for Reaktion Books

184 pages | 27 color plates and 73 halftones | 5.29 x 7.5 | © 2004
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781861891945 Published April 2004 For sale in North and South America only
Though people generally do not think of them in such terms, crows are remarkably graceful: from the tip of a crow’s beak to the end of its tail is a single curve, which changes rhythmically as the crow turns its head or bends toward the ground. Foraging on their long, powerful legs, crows appear to glide over the earth; they take flight almost without effort, flapping their wings easily, ascending into the air like spirits.

Nevertheless, the whiskers around their beaks and an apparent smile make crows, in a scruffy sort of way, endearingly "human". In a vast range of cultures from the Chinese to the Hopi Indians, crows are bearers of prophecy. Because of their courtship dances and monogamous unions, the Greeks invoked crows at weddings as symbols of conjugal love. Crows are among the most ubiquitous of birds, yet, without being in the least exotic, they remain mysterious.

This book is a survey of crows, ravens, magpies and their relatives in myth, literature and life. It ranges from the raven sent out by Noah to the corvid deities of the Eskimo, to Taoist legends, Victorian novels and contemporary films. It will be of interest to all people who have ever been intrigued, puzzled, annoyed or charmed by these wonderfully intelligent birds.
1. Mesopotamia
2. Egypt, Greece and Rome
3. The European Middle Ages and Renaissance
4. Asia
5. Native American Culture
6. The Romantic Era
7. Lord of the Crows
8. The Twentieth Century and Beyond
Photo Acknowledgements
Review Quotes
"Boria Sax's Crow takes a broadly chronological approach, with an intriguing digression on scarecrows. There are strong themes in the way different cultures have thought about crows (and ravens)."
Matt Smith | Cage and Aviary Birds

"This authoritative and well-researched volume is an ideal source of reference for anyone who has ever been intrigued, annoyed or charmed by these wonderful birds"

British Trust for Ornithology

"A fascinating and delightful book... an excellent read for anyone interested in this group of birds."

David Scofield Wilson | H-Net Reviews

"the sort of mongraph I treasure and seek out, a work that draws together around a totem animal centuries of relevant lore, a richness of iconographic treatments and the best natural history and natural science available to a lay researcher and engaged author"

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