Flight from Grace

A Cultural History of Humans and Birds

An examination of the human shift from worship and reverence of nature to open attack on the very environment in which we must live.

La description

Human animals are despoiling nature and causing a sixth extinction on Earth. This book traces human reverence for birds from the Stone Age through the cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Peru, and Greece and through biblical traditions, up to its vestiges in the present. The author calls on readers to appreciate how our past relationship with birds might help transform our current relationship with nature.


“This is a finely produced and beautiful book about birds in history. The author is a lifelong birder and the ornithological background knowledge to the book is strong. A well-written, stimulating read. ” Mark Avery, author of Remarkable Birds

"Most of Pope's impressive historical survey illustrates the human assumption that nature should be exploited, in contrast to the view here that birds should be celebrated, conserved, and protected. The book includes a helpful 297-item bibliography, and would be an asset for all academic libraries . .. . Highly recommended. " Choice

"This delightfully detailed and diverse book takes the reader on a journey that explores the deep history of our emotional and religious ties to birds and ponders our modern-day betrayal that has left a shocking one in ten bird species threatened with extinction. " Bridget Stutchbury, author of Silence of the Songbirds: How We Are Losing the World's Songbirds and What We Can Do to Save Them

"From bird worship to poetic reveries and imitations of flight and birdsong, Richard Pope offers a learned survey of our age-long fascination with all things winged and feathered. Flight from Grace promises to become a first-stop resource for anyone interested in avian cultural history and its relation to our current ecological crisis. " Bruce Boehrer, co-editor of Animals, Animality, and Literature

“This is a hard book not to love.” University of Toronto Quarterly