Though people generally do not think of them in such terms, crows are remarkably graceful: from the tip of a crow’s beak to the end of its tail is a single curve, which changes rhythmically as the crow turns its head or bends toward the ground. Foraging on their long, powerful legs, crows appear to glide over the earth; they take flight almost without effort, flapping their wings easily, ascending into the air like spirits.
Nevertheless, the whiskers around their beaks and an apparent smile make crows, in a scruffy sort of way, endearingly "human". In a vast range of cultures from the Chinese to the Hopi Indians, crows are bearers of prophecy. Because of their courtship dances and monogamous unions, the Greeks invoked crows at weddings as symbols of conjugal love. Crows are among the most ubiquitous of birds, yet, without being in the least exotic, they remain mysterious.
This book is a survey of crows, ravens, magpies and their relatives in myth, literature and life. It ranges from the raven sent out by Noah to the corvid deities of the Eskimo, to Taoist legends, Victorian novels and contemporary films. It will be of interest to all people who have ever been intrigued, puzzled, annoyed or charmed by these wonderfully intelligent birds.
80 b&w and 20 colour illustrations
80 b&w and 20 colour illustrations
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In CROW, Boria Sax compiles a veritable treasure-trove of material about crows and other close relatives such as ravens, jackdaws, and other corvids. Sax organizes the information into mostly chronological chapters, beginning with "Mesopotamia," which deals with corvids in Biblical and ancient lore, and eventually progressing to chapters about American Indian traditions and eventually Romantic and modern treatments of the birds. Although Sax's writing style is ordered and logical, it sometimes flows a little unevenly - but I think this is largely because there is no easy way to segue between some of the anecdotes and historical accounts in CROW. Overall, however, these small quibbles don't detract from the larger picture that Sax paints of these mysterious, mischievous, and sometimes misunderstood birds. There's a good proportion of folklore, legend, and fact in CROW, and it's presented alongside appealing images of paintings and other historical works of art.
For anyone that has had a prior incident with the crow, raven, or magpie, I suggest this read for a very good wrap up and conclusion of your encounter with these birds. The author is well knowledgeable and has added great pictures and paintings which are awe inspiring. The book captures the essence of these wonderful and canny birds.
I picked up this book in a Half Moon Bay bookstore hoping to expand my collection of symbology and history books. The author presents her subject well and it does give a decent overview on how the crow has been represented in history. The problem lay with the 'facts' the author used to link many of the myths or point out uses of the crow in ancient stories/artwork. From the areas that she talked about and I was familiar with, the author routinely exaggerated and/or relied on suppositions. I read the book all the way through, but I didn't feel like I could trust any of the information in the book.
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