Just before Christmas I read Billy Collins’ recommendation of the Animal Series by Reaktion Books, at the New York Times website. Each book in the series focuses on one animal and its relationship with humans: in myth, religion, literature, art, popular culture, etc…. Simply put, it is biology for the liberal arts major.
I used an Amazon gift card (the greatest gift anyone could ever give me, by the way) to purchase two volumes. The first to arrive was Crow, by Boria Sax. In honor of a trip I am planning to Isle Royale this summer, I also ordered Moose by Kevin Jackson. It has not yet arrived. Already I know that I will be ordering many more from the series.
Crow explores crows, ravens and other members of the Corvus genus… including my favorite of all birds, magpies. Since members of the corvus family live through out the world, Sax explores their cultural history and significance in practically every culture on earth including: the Ancient Near East, China, Europe and Native American culture. The result is an absorbing and entertaining book that is difficult to put down.
The other books in the Animal Series by Reaktion Books are listed below with links. I am hoping that one on Bison is in the works.
Robert E. Bieder
Katharine M. Rogers
Victoria de Rijke
Richard J. King
Christine E. Jackson
Katarzyna Michalska and Sergiusz Michalski
Thom van Dooren