Just like Crow Country by Mark Cocker, which is largely concerned with rooks, the title of this book is a little misleading. "Crow" is about crows as a group - corvids really - and concentrates far more on the social and mythological importance of crows than on the groups biology.
In a number of cases in this book it is even not clear what species of "crow" is being discussed - are they crows or are they ravens? This is especially true when the text is built around the analysis of images from older indigenous cultures. The art works produced by these cultures were almost certainly symbolic, and attempting to link an actual species to the image is very hard. But it many ways it may not be important, for the bird as a symbol is more important than the bird as a biological entity.
Crows in general seem to be associated with death or are seen as having the ability to predict the future. So in these cases, if you have a large black bird on your roof croaking out a message of doom, it may be of little consequence if the bird is as carrion crow or a raven!
This book does seem to be a good general introduction to the folk history of crows, and the section on modern crows and their link to the wild in urban areas is an interesting addition to the book.
However, I am not without concerns about the book. Taking the single example (and I admit it may be unfair to do this) of the reference to "The Black- Backed raven (Corvus ruficallus)" on page 15 of the book. As far as I know, no such bird exists, and certainly not one that exists in "most of the southern hemisphere, including Australia, Africa and parts of Latin America". While I may have happened upon the only such error in the book, it does call into question other statements made in the book.
This book is wide ranging, interesting and accessible, and if you have more than a passing interest in crows you will find plenty in the book that is worthwhile. However, if you intend to use the book for more than just an interesting read you may want to do some fact checking as well.
As half stars are not on offer, I'll go with 4 rather than 3 stars as I think the book addresses some really interesting material.
The animal series by Reaktion Book (difficult to search for on amazon) is a fantastic collection, each book focusing on one animal and exploring its biology and cultutral significance. Crow, as the title suggests, does not only deal with the crow, but with all corvids, mainly crow and raven, though. And that is the only major problem I had with this book - was it about the crow or ravens or corvids? Sometimes it wasn't too clear and made some of the statements seem somewhat disjointed. But that is a minor point, really (as is the fact that Sax mixed up the genesis of the film "The Crow" - the comic book came first). All in all the book is hugely enjoyable and contains a wealth of information about the crow, how it was regarded by different cultures and what it's really like. Add to that a wide range of illustrations and you have the beginner's bible of all things corvid. Highly recommended
Fans of Boria Sax will enjoy his latest effort "Crow." As Dr. Sax has matured his writing style has become more lyrical and his references richer and more diverse. He has a way to connecting animal studies with mythology and historical lore in ways that are both educational and entertaining. In this volume, Dr. Sax illuminates the relation between humans and crows and seeks references for this mystical and misunderstood creature in the lore of many nations. It is beautiful illustrated and a joy to read. I can't recommend this book enough.