Why Did the Chicken Cross the World: The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization

Andrew Lawler. Atria, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4767-2989-3
In his first book, journalist Lawler offers an encyclopedic examination of the chicken’s ever-growing and complex role in societies and civilization, tracing the bird’s migration across countries and cultures, from its role as a “rare and royal bird” in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to its current status as the product of industrial farming, which can be traced back to the Chicken of Tomorrow project launched in the U.S. at the end of WWII. The chicken plays many roles, ranging from mere foodstuff to a symbol of light and resurrection in some religions, as well as its key role in creating the flu vaccine that has helped millions. The bleaker sides to this narrative are handled bluntly—specifically, Lawler covers the intricacies and significance of cockfighting in certain cultures and provides an unflinching portrayal of the conditions in which commercial chickens are raised. Throughout, he maintains an objective stance. Readers are sure to come away with a deeper understanding of—and greater appreciation for—an animal that’s considered commonplace. Agent: Ethan Bassoff, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/2014
Release date: 12/02/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4767-2991-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4767-2990-9
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