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The Authentic Animal by Dave Madden

The Authentic Animal Inside the Odd and Obsessive World of Taxidermy

By Dave Madden

Why would someone create or own the mounted skin of a dead animal? That's the question Dave Madden explores in "The Authentic Animal". He begins with the life story of Carl Akeley, father of modern taxidermy, who started by stuffing a canary and ended with creating the Akeley Hall of African Mammals at The American Museum of Natural History. To get a first-hand glimpse at this world, Madden travels to the World Taxidermy Championships, the garage workplaces of people who mount freeze-dried pets for bereaved owners and the classrooms of a taxidermy academy where students stretch deer pelts over foam bases. On his travels he looks at the forms taxidermy takes - hunting trophies, museum dioramas, roadside novelties, pet memorials - and considers what taxidermy has to tell us about human-animal relationships.

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