Erik Anderson (Author) Christopher Schaberg (Editor)
& 1 more


Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

Hope, as Emily Dickinson famously wrote, is the thing with feathers. Erik Anderson, on the other hand, regards our obsession with birds as too sentimental, too precious. Birds don't express hope. They express themselves. But this tension between the versions of nature that lodge in our minds and the realities that surround us is the central theme of Bird.

This is no field guide. It's something far more unusual and idiosyncratic, balancing science with story, anatomy with metaphor, habitat with history. Anderson illuminates the dark underbelly of our bird fetish and offers a fresh, alternative vision of one of nature's most beloved objects.

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in the The Atlantic.

Product Details

$14.95  $13.75
Bloomsbury Academic
Publish Date
March 19, 2020
4.7 X 0.7 X 6.4 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author

Erik Anderson is the author of three previous books of nonfiction: The Poetics of Trespass (2010), Estranger (2016), and Flutter Point: Essays (2017).


"From tiny corpses to obsessive scientists, hot sauce on the Gulf and tears in the Hall of Asian Animals, Bird is at once a quirky natural history and a personal journey, one that says as much about humanity as about the feathered creatures we have eaten, shot, studied, extincted, protected, and, sometimes, watched. As I write these words, science tells us North American bird populations have declined by a third. Reading this book is one of the steps we can take toward giving birds back to the air that belongs, first, to them." --Christopher Cokinos, Associate Professor of English, University of Arizona, USA, and author of Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds (2009) and Bodies, of the Holocene (2013)