240 pages, 250 colour artworks
This book examines the development of ornithology from ancient times until the present day. There are chapters on ancient times, the middle ages, the renaissance, and each century from 17th until 20th. Each details the big names of the age, including the likes of the very famous Gilbert White, John James Audubon, Alfred Russell Wallace and Roger Tory Peterson, and many ornithologists reflected in bird species names - Pallas, Blyth, Steller, etc.
On every page there are beautiful artworks of the birds painted by the ornithologists as well as many portraits of the people in question. At the end of the book, a 20-page timeline details every significant ornithological event during the past two millennia, making this book required reading for anyone interested in modern-day ornithology and its roots in the past.
Please note that this book was published in the US by Princeton University Press under the title All about Birds: A Short Illustrated History of Ornithology (ISBN: 9780691145198)
"The History of Ornithology is an attractive and concise overview of those who have shaped our knowledge of birds. As such, it is a good introduction and reference to those figures. However, I did not feel that I had learned as much about the history of ornithology as I did by reading more narrative-based works, such as [...] The Wisdom of Birds and Of a Feather."
- Grant McCreary (25-05-2010), read the full review at The Birder's Library
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Valerie Chansigaud is based in France and is a Doctor of Environmental Science. She studied the influence of social and cultural policies on nature conservation and is currently researching the history of environmental issues.