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Distributed for Reaktion Books


The graceful winged form of the swan has inspired works of art from fairy tales to ballets, and its profile is recognized immediately by even the most cursory of bird admirers. Now the newest addition to Reaktion’s acclaimed Animal series examines the fascinating story behind this elegant bird.

The natural history of the swan is surprisingly complex, as Peter Young reveals, delving into the bird’s habitat and feeding habits, the physiological details of the eight surviving species and several extinct ones, the bird’s power and endurance, and the formation flying that allows them to conserve energy and fly great distances with speed. Swan gives equal treatment to the long and rich role of the swan in human culture, from the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan to the bird’s portrayal in sculpture, furniture, and brand name logos. Young also details the challenges facing conservation efforts to protect swans from human consumption and material goods.

An engrossing account, Swan will be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of all who admire this beautiful bird.

  Click here for a special, limited-time offer for the entire Animal series.

224 pages | 35 color plates, 100 halftones | 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 | © 2008


Biological Sciences: Natural History

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“When contemplating the serene splendour of the swan, one may be disagreeably surprised by it hissing reaction to friendly approach. The swan has fascinated humanity for aeons - a fascination provoked not by its mere loveliness, but by the contrast between its appearance of perfection and its somewhat perverse nature. Peter Young’s study of the bird involves ornithology, but also covers poetry, science, philosophy, and even the movements of markets . . . This beautiful bird makes for a poor meal by the way, and this is fitting.”

The Independent on Sunday

"The grace and beauty of the swan is celebrated in this handsome pocket-sized book, which explores the natural and cultural history of this elegant bird."–Cage and Aviary Birds

Cage and Aviary Birds

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