This book should not be judged by it's rather lurid cover. While it is indeed based on the fascinating story of how Dr. Hans Dunker set out to breed the first red canary, it is much more than a treatise on canaries. Just as Duncker used his red canary project to demonstrate his mastery of genetics, so does Tim Birkhead use Duncker's story to investigate how Man's relationship with other animals can be traced through the process of domestication; how amateur breeding experiments have contributed to the science of genetics; and ultimately how our understanding of genetics has influenced our political and social attitudes, sometimes with disastrous disatrous. To anyone unfamiliar with the world of bird keeping, this may sound far fetched, but Tim Birkhead provides convincing evidence to the contrary. Duncker, through his bird-breeding experiments became an advocate of the theories of genetic determinism, and when these coincided with the politics of pre-war Germany, they were to have profound and disturbing consequences. The range of Tim Birkhead's research is remarkable, but it is his ability to weave historical facts and scientific information into the fabric of his narrative that makes this book so enjoyable and rewarding. Highly recommended.