Read: The Feather Thief

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I’ve probably stolen a thing or two in my life. Not proud of it, but I would have to go back to my childhood days when I noticed barrels of hard candy in tubs that just so happened to be my exact height. “How convenient,” I thought as I filled my pockets. Driving home in the car my mother noticed my sugared enthusiasm and casually asked: “Where did you get those?” I instantly burst into tears, confessed and oozed into a puddle on the floor of the backseat. She promptly turned around, drove back, and then made me pace the walk of shame back into the store.

What haven’t I stolen? Hundreds of thousands of dollars of rare bird skins and feathers from the British Natural History Museum. After smashing a window in the middle of the night. But someone else did, and that is what Kirk Wallace Johnson’s “The Feather Thief,” is all about. And a nice little twist, the origins of this book started on the rivers of Northern New Mexico.

Turns out there is a somewhat underground subculture revolving around salmon fly tiers who lust for authentic materials to tie their masterpieces, even though many of these folks don’t fish. Yes, I know. They are relentless and the pay massive coin for a chance to use what’s real even if it means bending a law or two to get what they want.

This was a wonderful book that not only tells this particular story but is also a lesson for anyone wanting to have a go at an undertaking like this. The author spends YEARS untying this little tale. Get it? Untying? I’ll stop.

I won’t ruin the story or the ending. Just get it and read it.

Comments 2

  1. Not sure I can continue to follow a vicious barrel candy thief. It’s been swell, Dan. Good luck with the straight and narrow. (now I can’t remember if straight and narrow means what I think it means)

    1. Post

      I thought I had found the promised land. Then reality in the form of an irate mother woke me up.

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