12:00 PM - Tuesday - Meeting Room
Discussing "Feather Thief" by Kirk W. Johnson. Feed your mind at this monthly lunch-hour book club. All are welcome to attend. Free and open to the public.
About the book:
In the middle of the eighteenth century, naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace collected hundreds of specimens of birds in pursuit of proof of his theory of natural selection. Later, many of those specimens made their way to the natural-history museum in the town of Tring, England. In 2009, Edwin Rist, a young American flautist and expert in the art of fly tying, broke into the museum and made off with hundreds of rare bird specimens, including many collected by Wallace himself, which Rist intended to sell to fellow fly-tying enthusiasts. He was eventually apprehended, and a number of the stolen specimens were recovered, but a mystery lingered: What happened to the rest of the specimens? The author's relentless pursuit of a solution to that mystery not only breaks down the crime itself but also follows the eccentric histories of feather fever the Victorian fad that turned bird feathers into the height of fashion accessories and fly tying (which dates back at least to the Macedonians of the third century AD). Way more interesting than you'd think a book about a guy who stole some dead birds could possibly be, this is a remarkably compelling story of obsession and history and a man who so loved his art that he would break the law for it. (From Booklist)
About the author:
Kirk W. Johnson is the author of The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century and To Be a Friend is Fatal: the Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind, which covers his work coordinating the reconstruction of Fallujah and his subsequent efforts on behalf of Iraqi refugees as the founder of the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies.
His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy, among others. Johnson previously served in Iraq with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Baghdad and then Fallujah as the Agency's first coordinator for reconstruction in the war-torn city.
He is a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and the recipient of fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin, Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Wurlitzer Foundation. Prior to his work in Iraq, he conducted research on political Islamism as a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt. Johnson received his BA from the University of Chicago in 2002. Born in West Chicago, he lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles.
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