"[A] thrilling read."
"Fascinating from the first page to the last—you won’t be able to put it down."
“Captivating...Everything the author touches in this thoroughly engaging true-crime tale turns to storytelling gold....Johnson's flair for telling an engrossing story is, like the beautiful birds he describes, exquisite....A superb tale about obsession, nature, and man's ‘unrelenting desire to lay claim to its beauty, whatever the cost.’”—Kirkus Reviews,
“[An] enthralling account of a truly bizarre crime…. Johnson goes deep into the exotic bird and feather trade and concludes that though obsession and greed know no bounds, they certainly make for a fascinating tale. The result is a page-turner that will likely appeal to science, history, and true crime readers.”
"You'll never look at a feather the same way again after reading this riveting detective story...[The Feather Thief
] brilliantly weaves together Alfred Russel Wallace, the surprisingly shadowy history of fly fishing, conservation and the plumage of the most beautiful birds on earth."
“This is the type of book I absolutely love – one that takes a seemingly obscure topic and shines a brilliant and bizarre and endlessly fascinating light upon it. The crime itself is riveting, but Kirk Wallace Johnson’s portrayal of the crazy world of feather fanatics makes this an unforgettable read.”
—Michael Finkel, author of The Stranger in the Woods
“A true-crime tale that weaves seemingly unrelated threads—a museum break-in; the development of evolutionary theory; a case of post-Iraq PTSD; endangered birds; and (above all) the murky underworld of fly-tying obsessives—into a spellbinding narrative tapestry.”
—Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu
captivating tale of an unlikely thief and his even more unlikely crime, and a meditation on obsession, greed, and the sheer fascination in something as seemingly simple as a feather.”
—Paul Collins, author of The Murder of the Century
“A stirring examination of the devastating effects of human greed on endangered birds, a powerful argument for protecting our environment—and, above all, a captivating crime story.”
—Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees
“This gem of a book, about a heist of archival birds, is marvelous, moving, and transcendent. I can’t stop thinking about it.”
—Dean King, author of Skeletons on the Zahara and The Feud
“This extraordinary book
exposes an international underground that traffics in rare and precious natural resources, yet was previously unknown to all but a few. A page-turning read you won’t soon forget, The Feather Thief
tells us as much about our cultural priorities as it does about the crimes themselves. There’s never been anything like it.”
—Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs
Praise for To Be a Friend is Fatal
"Beautifully written...A deeply personal and poignant story."
"Riveting, darkly funny, heroic, and shaming."
"I have long been an admirer of Kirk Johnson--for his humanitarian advocacy on behalf of forgotten Iraqis and for his honest and poetic writing."
"Devastating...To Be a Friend Is Fatal
[tells the story of] interpreters and aid workers who risked their lives to work with the Americans, only to find themselves left behind as the United States pulled out." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A searing account."
—The New Yorker
"Johnson's rage-inducing account of government indifference is a tale of lost innocence that, in our American twilight, feels devastatingly allegorical."
"[A] truly incredible story."
—Ira Glass, "This American Life"
"It is difficult to imagine a book more urgent than this."
—The Boston Globe
"This well-written book--the author is an honest, engaging, and indomitable guide--warrants a special place in nonfiction shelves."
—The Daily Beast
"A must-read memoir."
"A poignant story...a fascinating and intimate look at the inner workings of military occupation and its effects."
—Los Angeles Review of Books
"A well-written account of one man's righteous quest to overcome government bureaucracy."
"An essential book."
—Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War