218 pages, 12 plates with b/w photos and b/w illustrations
The tales tell that Charles the Second feared ‘Britain will fall’ if the ravens ever left the Tower of London. Yet the truth is that they arrived in Victorian times as props in gory tales for tourists. The legend began in 1944 when a raven spotted bombers over London. But the ravens’ past has far more high drama. From the plains of the North American Indians to the Arctic tundra, all the way to the Tower of London, they have been symbols of cruelty, of survival through adversity, and a loveable icon. Boria Sax shows how our attitudes to the raven and to the natural world in general have changed enormously over the centuries. By describing the distinct place of this special bird in Anglo-Saxon culture, he shows how blurred the lines between myth and history can be. This is a unique and brilliantly readable story of the entwined lives of people and animals.
"City of Ravens is a wonderful contribution to the modern history and mythology of one of the world's greatest cities: but also one to the understanding of myth itself, and of the changing relationship between humans and animals."
- Professor Ronald Hutton, Commissioner of English Heritage
"Boria Sax is a likeable writer...and his diligent research has not only illuminated the origins of one of Britain's most famous myths, but also amply demonstrated ravens uncanny ability not only to summon old tales but to constantly generate new ones"
- Times Literary Supplement
"Boria Sax traces the history of the ravens in the Tower of London, with accurate scholarship and engaging stories. Sax . . . reveals both the symbolic power and the true magic of the Tower Ravens today"
- John Marzluff, author of In the Company of Crows and Ravens
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Boria Sax is an award-winning author and lecturer. Two of his scholarly books, Animals in the Third Reich: Pets, Scapegoats, and the Holocaust and The Mythical Zoo: An Encyclopedia of Animals in Myth, Legend, and Literature, have been named "outstanding academic titles of the year" by the journal Choice. His books have been translated into French, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Czech. Boria Sax lives in White Plains, New York.