Friday, December 28, 2007

Pg. 99: "In the Company of Crows and Ravens"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: In the Company of Crows and Ravens by John M. Marzluff and Tony Angell.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the cave walls at Lascaux to the last painting by Van Gogh, from the works of Shakespeare to those of Mark Twain, there is clear evidence that crows and ravens influence human culture. Yet this influence is not unidirectional, say the authors of this fascinating book: people profoundly influence crow culture, ecology, and evolution as well.

John Marzluff and Tony Angell examine the often surprising ways that crows and humans interact. The authors contend that those interactions reflect a process of “cultural coevolution.” They offer a challenging new view of the human-crow dynamic — a view that may change our thinking not only about crows but also about ourselves.

Featuring more than 100 original drawings, the book takes a close look at the influences people have had on the lives of crows throughout history and at the significant ways crows have altered human lives. In the Company of Crows and Ravens illuminates the entwined histories of crows and people and concludes with an intriguing discussion of the crow-human relationship and how our attitudes toward crows may affect our cultural trajectory.
Among the praise for In the Company of Crows and Ravens:
"A fascinating look at the corvid family, illustrated with Mr. Angell’s delightful black-and-white drawings."
—Stuart Ferguson, Wall Street Journal

"A fascinating examination of two unsung birds and their relations with humans.... [A] stunningly illustrated volume."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Sleek, evocative illustrations—a mysterious light seems to come directly from the eyes and feathers of these birds.... Learning how to slow down and observe animals around us is one simple way to form a stronger bond with nature. In the Company of Crows and Ravens is a subtle and beautiful reminder of this simple truth."
—Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"If corvids could read — and it seems they can do damn near everything else — they would surely find this book as entertaining and instructive as this human does."
—Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History

"...beautifully illustrated and gripping and difficult to put down as any good work of fiction."
—Alex Kacelnik, Nature

"... a book rich in descriptive language and juicy with insight and biological detail."
New Scientist

"This is a work bursting with fresh ideas, rich in speculation, while also managing to survey, in highly accessible terms, the full spectrum of research into this fascinating bird group."
BBC Wildlife Magazine

"A solid volume...[with] a vast amount of fascinating and provocative material..."

"[A] delightful blend of science, art, and anthropology, biologist Marzluff and illustrator Angell, both fascinated by the corvids, demonstrate why the crows and ravens are worthy of study and respect.... The text travels easily from science to folklore to literature, which, along with Angell's lively black-and-white illustrations, recommends this book highly."

Listen to a conversation with John Marzluff on WAMU Washington's The Diane Rehm Show.

John M. Marzluff is Denman Professor of Sustainable Resource Sciences and professor of wildlife science, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington. Tony Angell is a freelance artist and writer in Lopez Island, Washington.

Read an excerpt from In the Company of Crows and Ravens and learn more about the book at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: In the Company of Crows and Ravens.

--Marshal Zeringue