The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

A rollicking true-crime adventure and a thought-provoking exploration of the human drive to possess natural beauty for readers of The Stranger in the Woods, The Lost City of Z, and The Orchid Thief. 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 outpos A rollicking true-crime adventure and a thought-provoking exploration of the human drive to possess natural beauty ...

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Title:The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century
Author:Kirk W. Johnson
Rating:
Genres:Nonfiction
ISBN:B074DGMF88
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Kindle Edition
Number of Pages:320 pages pages

The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century Reviews

  • Lisa
    Aug 05, 2018
    The entire time I was listening to this book I thought it was fiction. Even more intriguing that it's true crime. I really enjoyed listening to this story and wanted to keep getting back to it. If I had known more about it before beginning, I probably would not have picked it up. I'm s...
  • Bronwyn
    Jun 25, 2018
    This was such a bizarre story, but super interesting! I've recently listened to this podcast about the Victorian bird market, which is super interesting too: https://www.dressedpodcast.com/podcas... Also, guys, Edwin Rist does flute covers of pop songs and tv music! https://youtu...
  • Kelly
    Aug 13, 2018
    I loved every single second of this true crime book about a man who becomes so obsessed with fly-tying that he breaks into a museum to steal their rare birds to sell the feathers for profit. The premise of this sounds like it might be boring, but it's anything but. Johnson's attention ...
  • Linda
    Aug 24, 2018
    When I chose this book, I thought it was fiction. It is not. It's history. It's a mystery. It's true crime. It's very interesting and opens a world that I had no idea existed. Seems the author acquired the obsession the people in the book already had. ...
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    May 18, 2018
    I was absolutely captivated by this book! Who knew there was this obsessive group who made salmon fishing ties using the feathers of endangered birds? Amazingly, they often don?t even fish with them and the salmon themselves don?t really care what?s on the tie. For many, it is an...
  • Carol
    May 27, 2018
    An online forum recently posted a list of true crime without murder or violence. The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century would fit the bill as no murder nor physical harm befalls any person. Yet is any crime without a victim? Each reader would...
  • Rebekah
    Jun 05, 2018
    This book hooked me from the moment I read the description. True crime about a fly tier trying to earn money to buy a gold flute? I'm there. The book was a great mix of the author's obsession with this case, the history of 19th century naturalists and the quest for exotic birds, bac...
  • Luke
    Sep 06, 2018
    Super interesting topic and well written. ...
  • Robert Sheard
    May 29, 2018
    The Feather Thief is marketed as similar to one of my favorite nonfiction books, Susan Orlean?s The Orchid Thief. And it?s an apt comparison. The books is a tale of obsession, the desire to capture and ?own? beautiful nature, and the frenzied lengths some people will go to i...
  • Rick
    Oct 04, 2018
    An unlikely topic by an unlikely sleuth: steamy tropical jungles, vanity run amok, a hobby that becomes an obsession, a child prodigy who becomes a famous fly-tying felonious flautist, a beguiling barrister, evolution, natural history, ornithology, criminal minds. And we keep reminding...
  • Chris
    Jun 17, 2018
    It?s hard to distinguish who is the more obsessive, the author in his quest for the truth or the fly tying thief. It?s nice to know that a fly fishing trip to Taos, New Mexico was the inspiration for this book. We castigate ourselves today for our lack of respect for the environ...
  • Rose
    Aug 08, 2018
    So interesting! I had no idea about the world of fly tying. Total page turner...tight writing, so even the historical bits were fascinating. Can't wait to read the next on from Mr. Johnson. ...
  • Kasa Cotugno
    May 07, 2018
    Reminds me of The Orchid Thief in its readability and theme. ...
  • Joann
    Jun 26, 2018
    3 1/2 Stars really. The book has three parts. The story of early collector and scientist Alfred Russell Wallace which is fascinating. The story of the theft of hundreds of valuable bird skins from the British Museum and the detective work involved in solving the crime. Also fascinating...
  • Kristen Beverly
    Mar 29, 2018
    This is such a weird but fantastic book. I can?t tell you how many times I thought, i mean, we?re talking about feathers, right? Feathers? Aren?t there bigger issues going on in the world right now? But it sucks you in & somehow you find yourself thinking, what happened to th...
  • April Cote
    Jul 24, 2018
    I read this nonstop, completely drawn into this bizarre true crime. Who knew a crime about a man stealing a historical collection and thousands of dollars worth of dead birds from a museum so he could use the feathers to make salmon fly catchers could be so fascinating! ...
  • Emily Goenner
    Jul 09, 2018
    I flew through the first two sections. Johnson provides a history and tells the heist story in a way that makes feathers fascinating. The last section, though, which tells his story of his obsession, was less interesting to me and a shift from telling the story to personalizing the sto...
  • Randal White
    Aug 21, 2018
    As a fly fisherman, fly tier, and former policeman, I found this book to be an absolute home run! A young "savant", Edwin Rist, had everything going for him. A brilliant flautist, he and his brother (also a savant), discovered the art of tying Atlantic Salmon flies. Throwing themselv...
  • Nicki
    Apr 04, 2018
    What a fascinating book this was! The fact that somebody had the audacity to even consider breaking into the British Natural History Museum and let alone do it, was intriguing enough for me to request this on NetGalley. The author tells an absorbing tale of how he first heard about ...
  • Rebecca
    May 20, 2018
    The Feather Thief is a delightful read that successfully combines many genres ? biography, true crime, ornithology, history, travel and memoir ? to tell the story of an audacious heist of rare bird skins from the Natural History Museum at Tring in 2009. Somehow I managed not to hea...
  • Audrey
    Aug 05, 2018
    This was just fascinating. All of it, the natural history (and destruction of species), feather fashion evolution, fly fishing, Edwin Rist, the theft, the recovery, the closing of ranks, the sales, the diagnosis, the author?s obsession and the overall fallout and conclusion. It?s s...
  • Anne Brown
    Oct 06, 2018
    I'm a huge fan of true crime and I think this is the first book of true crime I've read that didn't inflict violence on a person in any way! However, there were victims! Johnson started out strong laying the groundwork for the crime and then continued a great read into the second part ...
  • KC
    Jan 27, 2018
    This is the truly amazing story of how a twenty year old American flute prodigy pulled off an unbelievable museum heist of rare and exotic bird skins and feathers. Edwin Risk loved music but also was quite enthralled in the world of fly fish tying. He spent hours perfecting his craft a...
  • Jeimy
    May 02, 2018
    This was a fascinating look into the world of salmon fly-tying. It tells the story of a young savant and how his obsession with recreating classic lures led his to steal birds from the largest museum collection in England. The author became obsessed with the case and decided to hunt do...
  • Koen
    Sep 06, 2018
    I'm picking my books well this year! Another delightful book, finished in just a couple of days. Lots of fascinating stuff in here completely new to me. First and foremost, Victorian fly-tying is a thing. I've never cast a fishing rod in my live and was barely aware that fly-fishing...
  • Matthew Quann
    Aug 23, 2018
    Deciding to read The Feather Thief should really come down to how much you want to know about birds. Birds are animals I'm perfectly willing to appreciate at a distance but, barring a series of childhood budgies, they've never been my particular thing. All the same, I've got mad respec...
  • Jamie Canaves
    Jun 17, 2018
    FANTASTIC Nonviolent True Crime I had wanted to read this one for the nonviolent true crime roundup I?d done but hadn?t been able to get a copy until now. Now if you?re thinking ?But really how interesting can bird specimen theft be?? let me just tell you this book was supe...
  • Alex Bear
    Jul 12, 2018
    Kirk Johnson is a personal hero of mine. He is the subject of one of my favorite This American Life entitled Taking Names which gave me goosebumps when I heard it for the first time 4-5 years ago, and is always on my short list of episodes I recommend to people. So I definitely recomme...
  • Lily Mason
    Aug 14, 2018
    This story is unexpectedly engaging to the point where at times it feels like fiction. Who would have thought that a conservatory student would pull off the natural history heist of the century, all in the name of a niche hobby? Johnson is a great storyteller and his passion for the su...
  • The Captain
    Oct 12, 2018
    Ahoy there mateys! This be one a true crime book about one of the greatest naturalist thefts of all time ? of bird skins from the British Museum of Natural History. The reason ? their feathers for use in fishing lures. Aye matey, ye did read that correctly. Fishing lures that aren?...