Sunday book review – Swan by Dan Keel

This is a book for everyone, as Mute Swans, the main character in this book, are one of the few species that most people can identify because they are large, tame, white and common. We all know things about swans – they can break your arm just by looking at you (or at least flapping a wing), they are owned by the monarch, they feature in the ’12 days of Christmas’ carol and their flesh tastes fishy.  Except, only some of those things are true.

This book arrived only a couple of days ago but I’ve read it from beginning to end with pleasure. It is a celebration of swans by a birdwatcher, qualified pilot and communications professional. The author is a fan of swans and so this book is a sympathetic, easy and interesting read. But there are also diversions into photography, mythology and folklore, the future of aviation inspired by birds and other areas. In other words, and as something of a relief to this reader, it’s not all swans!

A good index, some useful notes and references and timeline of swan-relevant events. A clutch of attractive colour photographs are gathered in the centre pages.

The cover? Suitable, stylish and attractive. I’ll give it 8/10.

Swan: portrait of a majestic bird, from mythical meanings to the modern day by Dan Keel is published by Summersdale Books.

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