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 Review

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 outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins–some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them–and escaped into the darkness.

Two years later, Kirk Wallace Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? Had Edwin paid the price for his crime? What became of the missing skins? In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation. The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man’s relentless pursuit of justice, The Feather Thief is also a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.

Title:The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century
Edition Language:English

Enjoy the book review !

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    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...

  • KC

    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 ...

  • Kasa Cotugno

    Reminds me of The Orchid Thief in its readability and theme....

  • Kristen Beverly

    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 ...

  • Jeimy

    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 ...

  • Nicki

    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...

  • Mac

    I'm fascinated by stories of obsession where people are all-in pursuing a goal. I'm intrigued by the combination of years-long focus, intensity, and dedication; and I want to know if the pursuit will ...

  • Sammi

    This book was so weird and so fascinating. If you told me that someone had written a book about a man who was a world class flutist who was obsessed with tying fish hook ties (but didn't fish) and who...

  • Annette Jordan

    Every so often a gem of a book comes along, a book with a story so strange that you would struggle to find it plausible as a work of fiction, How much more surprising and fascinating to find out that ...

  • Jill

    The tale of a man who steals birds from a museum in order to sell them to salmon fly tyers. Yes, it's a true story and a fascinating one at that! I thoroughly enjoyed this one and will now go look for...