The Authentic Animal: Inside the Odd & Obsessive World of Taxidermy

Dave Madden. St. Martin's, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-312-64371-3
Don't let the gory subject matter repel you from this charming account of the cast of kings, artists, biologists, circus performers, and ordinary folks who populate the world of taxidermy. Madden's investigation is marked by appealing candor, literary references, and atmospheric descriptions of (and fondness for) the subculture and its adherents. Much of the book's drama comes from its story of the life of Carl Akeley, "the founder of modern taxidermy," a writer's dream of a subject with his idiosyncrasies, contradictions, and hair-raising stories of strangling a leopard with his bare hands. Deftly interweaving gripping tales and vivid depictions of the diorama-lined convention centers and air-conditioned "Man-Caves" of modern taxidermy, this book muses with verve and wit on the relationships between human and animal, art and artifact, as well as on the collector's obsession. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4299-8762-2
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-250-01472-6
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