Dreambirds : the strange history of the ostrich in fashion, food, and fortune / Rob Nixon
- Nixon, Rob, 1954-
- Additional Titles:
- Dream birds
- New York : Picador USA, 2001.
- 1st Picador USA pbk. ed.
- Physical Description:
- 289 pages ; 21 cm
- "The ostrich is one of nature's misfits: a gigantic bird that can neither fly nor sing. But the fin-de-siecle fetish for feathers made ostrich plumes more precious than gold, sparking an ostrich craze as lucrative and riotous as the tulip mania of the Renaissance. Jewish refugees fleeing the Lithuanian pogroms created an ostrich boomtown in the South African desert, where they erected fantastic Gothic palaces on fortunes made from feathers. Then the wheel of Parisian fashion turned, and the ostrich craze went bust." "Rob Nixon grew up in South Africa near the Karoo, the swath of desert where ostriches first boomed a hundred years ago. In later years, Nixon's rejection of apartheid led him to immigrate to the United States, where he rediscovered his fascination with these outsize birds. In 1990s Arizona, ostrich mania was gaining an unexpected reprise. Ranchers were pitching the ostrich as the cow of the twenty-first century, a healthy alternative to beef." "Part memoir, part travelogue, Dreambirds carries us through two desert worlds, spanning two centuries and two continents. The book teems with offbeat characters and improbable tales, some hilarious, some poignant, about ostrich rustlers and ranchers, fashion and fortune, food and folly. In wry pursuit of an obscure object of desire, Nixon creates an exploration of human hope. Dreambirds is a natural history of a fantasy and a beautifully crafted, candid revelation of a man's soul."--Jacket
- Originally published: London : Doubleday, 1999.
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