"Quirkily delightful ... A dizzying compendium ... An exhilarating field guide ... To read 'Birdmania' is to marvel at all the ways people incorporate birds into their lives ... "
The Wall Street Journal
"'Birdmania' is a cultural history of the varieties of human ornithological obsession. ... To Brunner, birdmaniacs are mostly an odd, selfish and even cruel bunch. ... We meet the French ornithologist François Levaillant, who cribbed some illustrations for his “Natural History of the Birds of Africa (1805-08)” from other sources, and incompetently (or deviously?) included numerous species not found on the continent. We are also introduced to the 20th-century aristocratic British ornithologist, spy and sociopath Richard Meinertzhagen, who switched tags among bird specimens to support his hypotheses and who might have shot his first wife to hide the deception before running off with his children’s nanny."
The New York Times
"We know the natural history and distribution of birds much better than those of any other group. And colourful people walk the paths to this knowledge, as is amply shown in Birdmania."
"An exquisitely beautiful book, Bernd Brunner's survey of our historical and cultural relationship with birds is packed with anecdote and interest, and populated with a cast of fascinating and memorable figures who helped forge how we think of birds today, from adventurers to bird-keepers, artists to ornithologists. These stories about birds are ultimately reflections on the curious nature of humanity itself."
Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk
"This handsome book is as much about humans as it is about birds. A fascinating window on the subject rather than a comprehensive history, it features a large and very varied bunch of characters linked by their avian obsessions."
"This book, if nothing else, highlights the very physical effects that humans have had on birds; it is to be hoped that a similar book written in two-hundred years time, reflects a more respectful relationship with these bewitching animals."
Germany: Galiani Berlin
USA/Canada/UK: Greystone Books
Australia and New Zealand: Allen & Unwin