- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Reaktion Books; 1st Edition edition (31 Oct. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1861893507
- ISBN-13: 978-1861893505
- Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1.3 x 19 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,206,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Duck (Animal) (Animal Series) Paperback – 31 Oct 2008
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"It''s not just about what we do with the meat and eggs, but how ducks have infiltrated language and culture, in such matters as the origins of the word "quackery," Donald Duck''s connections with propaganda and surrealism and, yes, even Toilet Duck. It''s a very readable introduction to a world which is both more interesting than you might have imagined, and very charming too."-The Herald, Glasgow
It's not just about what we do with the meat and eggs, but how ducks have infiltrated language and culture, in such matters as the origins of the word "quackery," Donald Duck's connections with propaganda and surrealism and, yes, even Toilet Duck. It's a very readable introduction to a world which is both more interesting than you might have imagined, and very charming too.
--The Herald "Glasgow ""
"It's not just about what we do with the meat and eggs, but how ducks have infiltrated language and culture, in such matters as the origins of the word "quackery," Donald Duck's connections with propaganda and surrealism and, yes, even Toilet Duck. It's a very readable introduction to a world which is both more interesting than you might have imagined, and very charming too."
Ducks are fantastically adaptable, and can live almost anywhere where it's wet. They can be seen on arctic shores (the Eider duck) and mountain streams (Torrent duck); in steppe lakes (White-headed duck), rainforests (Brazilian teal), and tidal estuaries (American black duck); and your local duck-pond (Mallard). It is this universality, perhaps, as well as its comical gait and distinctive cry, which makes us so fond of the duck and so ready to use it in our imaginings. In "Duck", Victoria de Rijke provides an introduction to the evolution, history, ecology and biology of the duck, as well as its widespread occurrence in our culture. She also examines our use of duck's meat, feathers and eggs; ducks in language, phrase, fable and jokes; ducks in comic strip, animation and film; and ducks in our future. Of all the animals in the world, the duck seems to attract the most humour and silliness, of which the author unearths numerous examples. In Giraldus Cambrensis' "Topographia Hibernia of 1187", for example, ducks are described as beginning life as growths on the trunks of trees that have been washed up on the beach. The quack of a duck, it is reputed, does not have an echo.The duck is also very prevalent in more serious guises: in Hebrew belief, ducks represent immortality, and in Finnish mythology the universe is formed from a duck's egg, which falls and cracks open, the yolk forming the earth and the white forming the heavens, sun, moon, stars and clouds. Providing an accessible, informative and entertaining addition to Reaktion's ever-growing menagerie of animal titles, "Duck" will appeal to the very wide audience familiar with this versatile and much-loved creature. See all Product description
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Striving to say something positive, some of the illustrations are interesting.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book starts with a good intro and the first chapter is on natural history, including a bit of evolution and about how the taxonomy is still not fully resolved. This is a bit dryer than later chapters, but is worth a read to set those later chapters up. Chapter 2 cutely titled "The Free and the Pressed," is a good read, and includes quite diverse topics, including a variety of hunting techniques, duck migration, duck preservation (the federal Duck Stamp in the US, hunters supporting preservation of duck habitat and such). Duck decoys are discussed--those carved decoys used in the 19th century are now quite valuable as folk art, one going at a Southby's art auction for $700,000, and since the writing, now probably more. Decoy also refers to an interesting sort of entrapment apparatus once used by Dutch hunters. There's also a striking photo of two punt guns, enormous shotguns used by commercial hunters in the 1800s. This is the book's best chapter.
Chapter 3 is "The Duck's Quack," is unusual in that it discusses ducks in speech in several ways. One is how "quack" is rendered into a number of languages. Another is how the idea od "duck" is used in speech, enormously varied in different varieties of English, but phrases such as lame duck, sitting duck, the verb duck (as in "Duck! Incoming!") and so on. This chapter wanders around, and includes the ducking stool among other things.
Chapter 4 examines Donald Duck and ducks as toys, including some early modern automata, and contemporary artists who use Donald Duck as a vehicle to satirize society in various ways. Some interesting art works are illustrated. Chapter 5 and 6 overlap with this, bringing in widely ranging materials such as Vietnamese water puppetry, medical quacks, worries about migrating ducks carrying disease, and more. Don't get me wrong here, there's a lot of interesting material, but there doesn't seem to be much organization, and the book just sort of ends, which is why I rate it at 4 rather than 5 stars,