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4.1 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 20 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 59 reviews
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.
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on December 31, 2016
Five stars for content, but the publisher of the Kindle version ought to be ashamed. Poor formatting and typos are especially bad at the beginning. Why is it acceptable to charge what you would for a paper copy, but with errors that would never be allowed into a book published in that format? If the Kindle version can't pass the same quality control checks, it shouldn't be allowed out the door.
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on November 8, 2010
Still Life by Melissa Milgrom is a book for discriminating palates, for those persons that can appreciate not only factual information but can also pick up the messages between the lines; those messages that bring back personal memories and open new windows on the multifarious world of human culture.
Perhaps, few other sectors of natural history can , as does taxidermy, display both the professional and the personal profile of the persons involved. Melissa Milgrom takes the reader by the hand and leads him along a path touching the phases of exploration, collecting and preparation, embedded in an aesthetic dimension which gives taxidermists an unique position in the variegate world of naturalists.
The personalities of the outstanding American taxidermists depicted in the book are all characterized by a strong tension toward disclosing the aesthetics of natural objects and their environment, a motivation often subliminally present in many persons that left a mark in the history of Natural History.
A book, this of Melissa Milgrom, that deserve the attention and the gratitude of all those aware of the necessity of opposing the increasing fading of naturalistic culture.
Gian Carlo Carrada
Full Professor of Ecology
University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
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on April 5, 2010
Melissa Milgrom did a fantastic review of taxidermy from a lay persons perspective. Those of us familiar with this art form know it requires attention to detail that makes one be a student of anatomy as well as a naturalist. As a hunter and conservationist I love being able to preserve the memories of the hunt. Paleolithic hunters painted animals on the cave walls....modern hunters have sculpted animals to remind them of atavistic tendencies that are worth revisiting and reliving....its part of who we are and where we came from.
As a young boy my parents brought me to the Chicago Field Museum and I was mesmerized by the dioramas. Each one was an adventure that fueled my imagination. It is still one of my most vivid childhood memories. Some of my friends collected baseball cards....I collected skins and skulls. I think Melissa Milgrom touched upon this experience and followed it through with some world class artisans that keep the memories alive....I only wish there were photos of the mounts including her squirrel. Well worth the read....heads off to Melissa. Joe Grote
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on May 7, 2010
I bought this book for my grown daughter who collects taxidermied animals. After reading Still Life, we both agreed that you can't look at "stuffed critters" the same again. Not only does Milgrom go indepth into the world of taxidermy (the history and trends), but she creates each chapter as its own short and entertaining story. Lots of interesting characters and facts you never knew make this an easy read. Now I long to return to the Museum of Natural History (or any museum!) to fully appreciate the exhibits--this book definitely changed my attitude towards the art of taxidermy.
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on November 14, 2015
Honestly, at first I did not like this book. However, after I got half way in, I started enjoying it more and more. I definitely enjoyed reading about various techniques and the stories of the taxidermists.
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on May 19, 2010
When I saw the title I was intrigued. I suggested it for my book club, knowing there would be objections. It was a fun read, slowing down in parts, but such fascinating subject matter. The author injects her opinion throughout, which is helpful but sometimes annoying.
I found the descriptions to be so clear that I was afraid to eat and read at the same time. A worthwhile read about something of which I knew very little.
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on August 11, 2015
This book was a pleasure to read. I have always loved the art of Taxidermy so I was excited to read this. Did not disappoint
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on February 5, 2017
nice
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on June 14, 2010
Melissa Milgrom will take you from the Past to the Present, from the New World to the Old Europe, from dusty museum attics to flashy art galleries, and it will not let you go before your read the last word.
A documented journey through a little-known world, full of interesting facts and witty humor, during which you will meet very human beings.
Take a comfortable seat and enjoy!
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