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The Chicken Book [Paperback]

Page Smith , Charles Daniel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 23.95
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Book Description

April 27 2000
Liberating today's chicken from cartoons, fast food, and other demeaning associations, The Chicken Book at once celebrates and explains this noble fowl. As it traces the rise and fall of Gallus domesticus from the jungles of ancient India to the assembly-line hatcheries sprawled across modern America, this original, frequently astounding book passes along a trove of knowledge and lore about everything from the chicken's biology and behavior to its place in legend and mythology. The book includes lively discussions of the chicken's role in literature and history, the cruel attractions of cockfighting, the medicinal uses of eggs and chicken parts, the details of the egg-laying process, the basics of the backyard coop, recipes, and much more. Entertaining and insightful, The Chicken Book will change the way we regard this too often underappreciated animal.

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"This book will definitely have a place on my bookshelf. Originally published in 1975, it began as a collaborative college course on the chicken by a scientist, a historian, and their students. Except for the professors, who were backyard chicken keepers, none knew a whole lot about chickens. The result: a big book that pretty much covers the subject from Araucanas to Plymouths to Yokohamas; from the origins to cockfighting, folklore, modern chicken/egg 'factories,' and backyard chicken raising."--Michael Gaspars, Whole Earth


“It's hard to decide whether this book is more fascinating and valuable for its information on chickens or for its insight on the modern homestead movement. But then, just about anyone will find The Chicken Book to be interesting, amusing, and fun to read on several levels. . . . Chicken lovers will be delighted with all of this. But the general reader will also be rewarded. . . . Underpinned by several serious ideas but sprinkled with a generous dose of humor, [it] makes for some fine reading."--Countryside and Small Stock Journal


"A fascinating account of the great impact that the chicken has had upon man. For anyone with any interest in chickens, the book is not only informative but is also fun to read."--Choice


"Smith and Daniel are obviously enthusiastic (though not sentimental) about their subject, and they've provided some good, interesting, and useful reading on the chicken."--Library Journal


"A delightful treatment blending evident research with forthright admiration for the ubiquitous chicken."--Booklist


"At times amusing, essentially very serious, this engaging offbeat look at the chicken—as an estimable creature in itself and as a symbol of man's desensitization through technology—[is] a pro-chicken, pro-man Western omelette worth reading and pondering."--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Page Smith (1917-1995) was a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Charles Daniel is an emeritus research professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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5.0 out of 5 stars The Name Says It All April 7 2002
Format:Paperback
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!!
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Format:Paperback
I live in a small, um, somewhat rustic village not far from Sacramento, California. In the sixties, there came to the town, so the local lore goes, artisans, who tended to live somewhat communally. They ultimately brought chickens to live with them, also communally. When the sixties were over, and the artisans moved on to state jobs and law school, the chickens remained. And were fruitful. And multiplied. And multiply still, as well as serving as mobile speed bumps, tourist attractions, points of political controversy (Chased and attacked chickens, particularly adults, especially roosters, have been known to retaliate in kind, to people who treat them fowlly: actions are afoot to collect ((nap?)) the current chickens and replace them with non-aggressive breeds ((Hey, it's California, after all))),and t-shirt and advertising icons. All in all, it's an idyllic little place that resembles nothing so much as say, the set for Murder She Wrote, if you happened to toss in some palm trees and some chickens along with the pines in the town square. Think Norman Rockwell. Think Norman Rockwell on nitrous oxide. It's a place where nobody sleeps very late, where nobody really has to go hungry, and where approximately every other resident is a chicken.
But I've lived there for a while, so I know these things. Paige Smith's book was out of print for a long while (But now thanks to U of Georgia P, the folks who brought back William Hedgepeth's The Hog Book--there's a pattern here), but now you can read and know these things as well.
The chickens will be grateful.
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Format:Paperback
I live in a small, um, somewhat rustic village not far from Sacramento, California. In the sixties, there came to the town, so the local lore goes, artisans, who tended to live somewhat communally. They ultimately brought chickens to live with them, also communally. When the sixties were over, and the artisans moved on to state jobs and law school, the chickens remained. And were fruitful. And multiplied. And multiply still, as well as serving as mobile speed bumps, tourist attractions, points of political controversy (Chased and attacked chickens, particularly adults, especially roosters, have been known to retaliate in kind, to people who treat them fowlly: actions are afoot to collect ((nap?)) the current chickens and replace them with non-aggressive breeds ((Hey, it's California, after all))),and t-shirt and advertising icons. All in all, it's an idyllic little place that resembles nothing so much as say, the set for Murder She Wrote, if you happened to toss in some palm trees and some chickens along with the pines in the town square. Think Norman Rockwell. Think Norman Rockwell on nitrous oxide. It's a place where nobody sleeps very late, where nobody really has to go hungry, and where approximately every other resident is a chicken.
But I've lived there for a while, so I know these things. Paige Smith's book was out of print for a long while (But now thanks to U of Georgia P, the folks who brought back William Hedgepeth's The Hog Book--there's a pattern here), but now you can read and know these things as well.
The chickens will be grateful.
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