Top positive review
on December 23, 2013
Much like Ms. Milgrom, taxidermy is a profession in which I had mixed feelings. I find it both fascinating and repulsive. The level of detail and focus an individual must have to recreate a realistic animal is not only a highly technical skill but many taxidermists rise to the level of creating exceptional art. Surprisingly, the people who are committed to this unique discipline rarely make even a decent living nor do they receive, outside of other taxidermists, the respect their profession so richly deserves.
My knowledge in this area was nonexistent. The author opened up an extremely interesting world. Ms. Milgrom's investigation covers such areas as a third-generation taxidermy shop in New Jersey; a taxidermist competition/trade show; an interesting history of the movers-and-shakers in the field; the American Museum of Natural History; the comparison between American and European attitudes about it; an eccentric English taxidermist named Emily Mayer; the auction of the odd Mr. Potter's Museum of Curiosities; and finally the author gets her own hands dirty by recreating a grey squirrel which she submits into a national competition. The book is peppered with oodles of interesting trivia.
Ms. Milgrom does a fine job describing taxidermy and taxidermists in their various manifestations. Their mindsets and work ethics are very different than I had envisioned. Her wonderful writing is highly informative, introspective as well as sprinkled with occasional humor. If you even have a modicum of interest in taxidermy, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Ms. Milgrom's work.