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Publisher's Summary

Feathers are an evolutionary marvel: Aerodynamic, insulating, beguiling. They date back more than 100 million years. Yet their story has never been fully told.

In Feathers, biologist Thor Hanson details a sweeping natural history, as feathers have been used to fly, protect, attract, and adorn through time and place. Applying the research of paleontologists, ornithologists, biologists, engineers, and even art historians, Hanson asks: What are feathers? How did they evolve? What do they mean to us?

Engineers call feathers the most efficient insulating material ever discovered, and they are at the root of biology's most enduring debate. They silence the flight of owls and keep penguins dry below the ice. They have decorated queens, jesters, and priests. And they have inked documents from the Constitution to the novels of Jane Austen.

Feathers is a captivating and beautiful exploration of this most enchanting object.

©2011 Thor Hanson (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Feathers

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Profile Image for Chris Reich
  • Chris Reich
  • 28-12-2014

Fantastic Science and Fun

If you enjoy science books, you are sure to enjoy this book. It is a well structured book with a good balance of history, science and personal quest. It is not overly technical nor is it watered down.

A book that motivates me to want to know more about a given subject is a winner. Now I want to know more about feathers! I bought the print book to have as reference.

This book by far soars above the books written by non-scientist columnists. I really dislike most of those "I was curious about ---- so I decided to write a book" type science books. I like my science to come from someone who knows what they are talking about and not just a compilation of quotes from 'research'. This book is the real deal.

This goes on the highly recommend list if you like science.

10 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Patricia
  • Patricia
  • 02-01-2015

Book alive but reader dead`

Would you consider the audio edition of Feathers to be better than the print version?

Not unless it was reproduced with another reader who possessed some animation.

What did you like best about this story?

It's fortunate the author was so articulate and I was able to enjoy the book despite the reader. I would recommend the book but not in the audible form with this reader.

How could the performance have been better?

A computer would have been more animated, If the reader couldn't get into the material why did he agree to the project?

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found it very informative and the author easily related to his audience as equals. And, yes, despite this being a scientific presentation the author injected some humor and I had a few laughs.

Any additional comments?

This was the most robotic reading I have ever heard and Andy Ingalls has been added to my very short list of readers I will not ever listen to again. There should be some kind of quality control to prevent this. Only the author's superb presentation saved the audible format and led me to finish the book and keep it for further reference

8 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Caille
  • Caille
  • 04-08-2016

Love the content!

What did you love best about Feathers?

I did love the subject and content of this book. After Sharing space with lovebirds, I think everything about feathers is fascinating.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I did not care for the narration at all. It was monotonous, and there were mispronounced words. I had to listen to the book three times before I got all the way through the content. I will buy the hardcover, and I will not buy any more books by this narrator.

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  • Corrine
  • 16-03-2016

Great book, narrator did a great disservice

This book is fascinating but putting up with the narrator's over enunciation and unbelievably slow speech pattern hugely distracted from how special the content is. I guess I'm spoiled by audible's typically fabulous narrators. Missed it by a long shot on this one. If you love birds and feathers this book is a must read. But read it. Don't try to listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-04-2019

Terrible narrator

I wish I'd listened to people saying that narrator is bad. Because, boy, is he bad. The book itself is interesting enough, though some chapters are more engaging than others. But if you're on the fence, get another book by Thor Hanson. The Triumph of Seeds is a triumph.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Brett Gilbert
  • Brett Gilbert
  • 22-03-2018

Great book; cheesy accents.

I liked this book a lot and would recommend it to any bird or science enthusiast, though I wish narrators would drop the accents when they quote others.

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Profile Image for marguerite allred-crawford
  • marguerite allred-crawford
  • 23-02-2021

Wow. I never realized. . .

Everything you never knew you wanted to know about our sweet feathered friends. The author has a very winning style: part science, part anecdote, all great. My only problem.was the narrator's irritating, but blessedly sparse, horrible mimic of foreign accents. It was obnoxious, and humiliating. Why didn't the publisher just hire native language speakers for such parts if they were actually necessary- which they were NOT. Aside from this I'd recommend the book, and the author's others to anyone with a curious mind.

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Profile Image for Ms. RWW
  • Ms. RWW
  • 15-08-2020

Narration distracts listener’s attention to content

This book provides a wonderful exploration of bird and feather evolution, but it’s hard to summarize what I learned because I’m so aggravated by the narrator’s disservice to this book. For most of the book, as the author tells his story, the narrator’s speech is robotic and mechanical. The speech mannerisms are so strange that its sound distracted me from absorbing the information being given. In contrast, when people interviewed by the author are quoted, the narrator speaks in regional dialects as an actor would in playing the part of the speaker. He does this very well, but it’s not suited to getting the point across to the listener. I googled the narrator’s name, suspecting I’d find he is an actor, and I was right. If this were a fictional story, the dramatic flair would be an asset. However, this book calls for a scientifically literate reader able to appreciate what is being told enough to get out of the listener’s way.

I’m going to return this audiobook and read the Kindle version so I can hear Thor Hanson’s voice in my head instead of Andy Ingalls’ many voices.

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Profile Image for L. Kitchings
  • L. Kitchings
  • 09-05-2020

Wonderfully engaging

Thor Hanson is my go to naturalist, his books alway enthrall me and teach me something new. Feathers covers the vast topic of feather form, function and evolution seamlessly. Very well preformed and enjoyable to listen to.

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Profile Image for Stephen Kirklys
  • Stephen Kirklys
  • 14-11-2019

Beware! Narrator is beyond terrible.

The reading of this book is so dead and flat. Thor's writing is usually so fun to listen to. I couldn't get through more that 2 chapters. Buy the book instead.

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