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The Chicken Book


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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.


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

"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

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

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