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Moa: The dramatic story of the discovery of a giant bird Paperback – September 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Global (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143018736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143018735
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Switek on May 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
There isn't very much to say about this book other than that it was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping to get a description about what was known about the Moa, but the book focuses more on those who were enthralled with the giant bird and the history of New Zealand as it pertains to the Moa. A considerable amount of time is devoted to Sir Richard Owen (and the conclusion of the book would have inflated Owen's ego even further if he were alive to read it) and those involved in the discovery and description of the Moa, but little is actually illuminated about the animal itself. If you're interested in the history of New Zealand then you'll find much to enjoy, otherwise you'd be better to read something by Erroll Fuller or David Quammen instead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Craig Rowland on November 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Moa: The Dramatic Story of the Discovery of a Giant Bird by Richard Wolfe was a disappointingly s-l-o-w read. At a mere 249 pages, I finished it after nine days.

The story of the discovery of moa bones in early nineteenth-century New Zealand was unfortunately boring and not at all interesting to a bird-lover like me. Moa, much to my surprise, hardly talked about the extinct largest bird that ever lived, and spent far more of its space devoted to early New Zealand European immigrant history and to the leading scientists who first examined moa bones. While this is no doubt important in understanding the moa from its fossil discovery to the scientific puzzle whether or not it was still extant, by rarely mentioning the actual subject of discussion, the moa was reduced to a mere footnote in its own historical record. Wolfe spent a few pages in a couple of the thirteen chapters talking about the moa's anatomy and its eating habits. I drank it all in, expressing relief that finally the author was talking about the bird, but then after a few pages he'd go back to talking about the evolution of the modern museum and various other papers on natural history the moa scientists had written. I would not recommend this book if one wanted to learn about the moa. For those interested in the Maori colonization of New Zealand, the European settlement in the early nineteenth century, and the effect that Darwin's new theory of evolution had on science, this book is ideal. It is not enlightening when describing the moa, the largest bird that ever lived on this planet.

A couple trivial tidbits: I found it amusing that almost every scientist or explorer profiled in Moa was named William.
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