- Paperback: 289 pages
- Publisher: Picador USA; First Edition edition (March 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312270127
- ISBN-13: 978-0312270124
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dreambirds: The Strange History of the Ostrich in Fashion, Food, and Fortune Paperback – March, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
This is all rather unkind, and in fact, unfair to the ostrich. A bird rumored to be so dumb that it supposedly sticks it's head into the sand when threatened; actually we are the dummies if we believe this bit of folklore - it's a myth. The ostrich is in fact remarkably well adapted to it's environment - the savannas of Eastern and Southern Africa, and has had a close association with man for the better part of a century, providing us with food and making fortunes for us.
It is this relationship between man and ostrich that Mr Nixon explores in DREAMBIRDS, specifically his remembrances of the bird from his childhood in South Africa. A town called Oudtshoorn, near where he grew up, was, before WWI, the capital of the worldwide ostrich feather industry. In its heyday it supplied 100,000 tons of plumes to the fashion centers of Europe. The town was then known as the Jerusalem of Africa - a consequence of the large resident community of jewish feather merchants.
That's about all the history there is though. The book is a more a biography, and the ostrich is the common theme, the link between Nixons early youth in South Africa and his adult life in his adopted home - the US. We run into the bird at the ostrich races in Chandler, Arizona and again at various ranches throughout the Southwest. It's not only places, but people that are mentioned. There are some interesting characters involved in the ostrich business.Read more ›
There is really nothing new in this book with regards to the history of the ostrich, and the author indeed had nothing to do with the industry at all - at any point in his life.
If you are buying this book for insights into the history of this magnificent bird in food, fashion and fortune, then you will be disappointed to be sure.
Nice story of Nixon's life, well written, and only occasionally pedantic; however a history of the ostrich this is not.