From egg to poult to hen to rooster to featherbed and deepfreeze, from the ancient Egyptians to neo-feudal Southeast Asia to the iconographic Petaluma chicken ranch to the modern industialized chicken culture, this book covers everything you could ever need, want or just happen upon with respect to the chicken---except for one thing: it totally ignores the Chicken MacNugget!! Nonetheless (or perhaps because of this), it is not just a manual for the chicken fancier, the cockfight afficionado or the backyard farmer. It is truly an examplary product of a "LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION", and deserving of much wider appreciation than it has received to date. Page Smith, a well-known popular historian, co-taught an interdisciplinary seminar with a biologist named Charles Daniel entitiled "The Chicken" for undergraduates at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the early 1970's. No doubt some initially perceived the course title as a joke, but they were wrong. Somewhere along the line, someone injected some intellectual rigor and real insight into the course syllabus. With the aid of their teachers, the students performed a tour de force of research, covering every facet of the chicken from cultural, historical, religious, biological, agricultural and even epistemological points of view. The professors took the student work and fashioned it into a book that is a classic in every sense of the word. "THE CHICKEN BOOK" is a beautifully written minor masterpiece of historic arcana, zoological detail, small-scale poultry management, veterinary medicine, cultural anthropology, blood-sport historiography and culinary arts. Long out of print and hard to find, the book well deserves this new edition. Whether or not you have a specific interest in chickens, this is well worth reading. As an example of what an active intelligence can do with a relatively commonplace and mundane topic, this book was way ahead of its time!!