A Shadow Above chronicles the return of the raven and the people who have made that comeback possible.
For centuries, the raven Corvus Corax has stalked us in life and in death. Excavations of Bronze Age settlements in Britain have revealed raven bones mingled with human remains. The Viking and Norman warriors that stormed these shores did so sporting ravens on their shields and banners. By the 15th century the service the birds provided scavenging and picking clean bodies on the streets of British cities led to their protection, under the first-ever piece of nature conservation legislation.
Yet by the 1700s this relationship between humans and the raven had soured. The birds came to be regarded as verminrepresentative of something deeper and more visceraland were driven out of towns and cities with a hatred that moved into savagery. By the close of the 19th century, ravens clung on only in the furthest outposts of the United Kingdomthe southwest, west Wales, and the Scottish uplandsand this remained the case throughout most of the last century, but the past decade has witnessed a remarkable comeback. Raven numbers have increased by 134 percent since the turn of the millennium and there are now well over 12,000 breeding pairs across the country, with these moving ever closer to human settlements.
The history of this bird embodies our best and worst impulses, and symbolizes our deepest fears. Ravens became ingrained in our culture as omens of death, and we projected our own deepest fears on to them.
Joe Shute's book chronicles the return of the raven, and the people who have made that comeback possible. In it, he travels to every corner of the UK, meeting those who have spent the past ten years recording every sound and sighting, and showing why these birds reflect and provoke our innermost feelings.
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Joe Shute is an author and journalist with a passion for the natural world. He studied history at Leeds University, and currently works as a senior staff feature writer at The Telegraph. Before joining the newspaper, Joe was the crime correspondent for The Yorkshire Post. He lives with his wife in Sheffield, on the edge of the Peak District.