5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Wise and Wonderful,
This review is from: Owl (Animal) (Paperback)
This is an excellent book that focuses on the mythical and symbolic nature of Owls. What makes this book different from some of the others I have read in this series (Crow (Animal), Fox (Animal) and Hare) is that the material is presented with a much closer attention to the biology of actual the animal in question. So although the book is about the mythic owl, real owls form the backbone of the book.
The myths, fables and associated folk lore of owls remains, appropriately, central to this book, but the real owl as revealed by modern study is never far from the surface. At one point this is wonderfully illustrated by a reference to having strayed into the realms of Monty Python when some of the folk health remedies are being considered. This section ends, tellingly, with this phrase "We may be cutting down their forests, but at least we have stopped placing bits of then under our armpits"!
The spirit of that phrase flows through the whole book, and it is at its most useful when the book deals with modern interpretation of ancient fables and artefacts that contain owls. Almost without fail such analysis contains phrases such as "it's is speculated that" or "some studies conclude that" - this seems far more academically honest than the tone adopted in some of the other books in this series, where modern analysis is presented without even a hint of conjecture or speculation. In this regard that fact that the author has a clear track record in writing in a field where it is important to differentiate between fact and speculation is not a surprise.
The book concludes a chapter on the biology of typical owls and an account of owls which fall outside of these behaviours.
Thus from beginning to end this book refers to the real owls that were mythologised and fabled as well as the myths and fables they created. in my opinion makes this a much more interesting and readable book than if the real owl had been absent.
Highly recommended for both lovers of myths and of actual owls themselves.