Greer examines the lives, writings, and collections of a number of ornithologist-officers, arguing that the transnational encounters between military men and birds simultaneously shaped military strategy, ideas about race and masculinity, and conceptions of the British Empire. Collecting specimens and tracking migratory bird patterns enabled these men to map the British Empire and the world and therefore to exert imagined control over it. Through its examination of the influence of bird watching on military science and soldiers' contributions to ornithology, Red Coats and Wild Birds remaps empire, nature, and scientific inquiry in the nineteenth-century world.
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An inventive and attractive work, this book documents the ways in which the study of ornithology and bird collecting intersected withand contributed toBritish military and imperial endeavors in the Mediterranean region at the height of empire.Janet Browne, Harvard University
Red Coats and Wild Birds is innovative, well researched, and well written. There is simply nothing like this book.Nancy Jacobs, Brown University