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Before best-selling author Helen Macdonald told the story of the goshawk in H Is for Hawk, she told the story of the falcon, in a cultural history of the masterful creature that can "cut the sky in two" with the "perfectly aerodynamic profile of a raindrop," as she so incisively puts it. In talon-sharp prose she explores the spell the falcon has had over her and, by extension, all of us, whether we've seen them "through binoculars, framed on gallery walls, versified by poets, flown as hunting birds, through Manhattan windows, sewn on flags, stamped on badges, or winnowing through the clouds over abandoned arctic radar stations." Macdonald dives through centuries and careens around the globe to tell the story of the falcon as it has flown in the wild skies of the natural world and those of our imagination. Mixing history, myth, and legend, she explores the long history of the sport of falconry in many human cultures-from Japan to Abu Dhabi to Oxford; she analyzes the falcon's talismanic power as a symbol in art, politics, and business; and she addresses the ways we have both endangered and protected it. Along the way we discover how falcons were mobilized in secret military projects; their links with espionage, the Third Reich, the Holy Roman Empire, and space programs; and how they have figured in countless stories of heroism and, of course, the erotic. Best of all, Macdonald has given us something fresh: a new introduction that draws on all her experience to even further invigorate her cherished subject. The result is a deeply informed book written with the same astonishing lyrical grace that has captivated readers and had everyone talking about this writer-cum-falconer.… (lisätietoja)
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This is part of the Reaktion animal series which is a favorite series of mine. Many people will probably try it because of Helen Macdonald’s fame from H is for hawk. She writes well here and her passion for the topic is obvious. All of the Reaktion books explore not just the biology of the animal in question, but also its mythology, its image in art and its intersection with the human world.
One example of that intersection in this book was that falcons had to be cleared from the British coasts during World War II because they kept picking off carrier pigeons.If this is the kind of factoid you enjoy, you’ll love this book and the other books in the series ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
Not quite 4 stars, but close. Lovely pictures and lovely writing. After finishing the book I see it is one of a series on animals that range from oyster to whale - all of which look beautifully produced. There are 60-70 of them now and reviewers are mostly positive. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
I listened to this once via audio and then decided to get an actual hard copy - glad I did --worth mulling over and also enjoyed the illustrations. Not as heartfelt as H is for Hawk but this is apparently part of series so I suppose the author had to work somewhat within those parameters and made it less personal and more formulaic. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Sep 2, 2020 |
Raptors are at the pinnacle of evolution, from the huge eagles that soar in lazy arcs, the hawks that use all their guile and cunning and the falcons that are the Exocet missiles of the avian world; this book is the story of the falcon.

Humans and falcons have had a long history together, young birds were collected and trained for sport and hunting for millennia and it still carries on today in particular in the middle east. But it is a tempestuous relationship, there have been points where we have driven them to almost extinction. Thankfully they are making a comeback, partly as people are more aware of the natural world and care about it, but they have been moving from their original clifftop eyries to the heights of city skyscrapers, and what was once a rare sighting now is commonplace. Macdonald explores how they have entered our culture, given names to aircraft, been venerated way back to Egyptian times and were even used for secret missions during World War II.

Macdonald is better known for H is for Hawk, but she actually wrote this volume first. It is an interesting account of these beautiful but deadly creatures and is full of fascinating facts and some quite amazing pictures. In particular, I liked the photo of a skydiver alongside a peregrine and learning that at full chat when they reach speeds in excess of 200mph, they make a whistling sound as they cut through the air. Great little book, one for all lovers of raptors. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
By the author of [b: H is for Hawk|18803640|H is for Hawk|Helen Macdonald|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1442151714s/18803640.jpg|26732095], [b: Falcon|29999|The Maltese Falcon|Dashiell Hammett|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1306421260s/29999.jpg|980184] is a deep dive into the history and symbolism of - primarily - the peregrine falcon. While forays are made into the gyrfalcon and sakar falcon, the peregrine becomes a perfect symbol for falcons as a whole. Through the peregrines depredations due to hunting, and eventual extinction in America due to DDT, we can learn about the fate of other falcons. The success story of The Peregrine Fund and advent of falconers to save the species is an all too pertinent tale. So much good can come from dedicated work to restore a species - will that happen once more?

[a: Helen Macdonald|314021|Helen Macdonald|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1400594607p2/314021.jpg] understands the falcon as only one truly in love with the species does. She traces it as a symbol of aristocracy, of wilderness, of the natural, the urban natural, and as some seductive part of the self. We see ourselves as falcons, and yet falcons could so easily do without us. Doesn't that tell us everything about our relationship to the wild? The partnership between human and falcon in the sport of falconry is also addressed, as is the sheer depth of its history over time.

This is a valuable, fascinating, and eminently readable book. I highly recommend it not only to fans of [b: H is For Hawk|18803640|H is for Hawk|Helen Macdonald|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1442151714s/18803640.jpg|26732095] but also all those with an interest in nature and our relationship with it. This book sums is all up so beautifully through one of the most arresting and fascinating of species. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
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Before best-selling author Helen Macdonald told the story of the goshawk in H Is for Hawk, she told the story of the falcon, in a cultural history of the masterful creature that can "cut the sky in two" with the "perfectly aerodynamic profile of a raindrop," as she so incisively puts it. In talon-sharp prose she explores the spell the falcon has had over her and, by extension, all of us, whether we've seen them "through binoculars, framed on gallery walls, versified by poets, flown as hunting birds, through Manhattan windows, sewn on flags, stamped on badges, or winnowing through the clouds over abandoned arctic radar stations." Macdonald dives through centuries and careens around the globe to tell the story of the falcon as it has flown in the wild skies of the natural world and those of our imagination. Mixing history, myth, and legend, she explores the long history of the sport of falconry in many human cultures-from Japan to Abu Dhabi to Oxford; she analyzes the falcon's talismanic power as a symbol in art, politics, and business; and she addresses the ways we have both endangered and protected it. Along the way we discover how falcons were mobilized in secret military projects; their links with espionage, the Third Reich, the Holy Roman Empire, and space programs; and how they have figured in countless stories of heroism and, of course, the erotic. Best of all, Macdonald has given us something fresh: a new introduction that draws on all her experience to even further invigorate her cherished subject. The result is a deeply informed book written with the same astonishing lyrical grace that has captivated readers and had everyone talking about this writer-cum-falconer.

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