A Shadow Above: The Fall and Rise of the Raven




A Shadow Above: The Fall and Rise of the Raven Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Pages: 272 Illustrations and other contents: 12 black and white illustrations ISBN: 9781472940285 Categories: ,

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.

His interviews will range from the descendants of the Vikings on Orkney to those who monitor the White Cliffs of Dover, where ravens have started breeding for the first time since the Victorian era, to the burgeoning raven roosts of Anglesey.

Joe meets biologists studying the vast intellect of the birds which have proved how they mimic human speech–and interactions–and the city dwellers who never imagined the sight of ravens in residential streets could ever be possible in their lifetimes. He also spends time with upland sheep farmers still struggling to come to terms with this uneasy relationship, and asks why we drove this bird to near extinction in the first place.

Weight0.6 kg



Early in the book, the author makes a confession: 'I came to birds late'. Joe Shute may have misspent his adolescence - youth without ornithology is, by definition, wasted - but he's made up for it. This hymn to Corvus corax is the work of a birdman -- John Lewis-Stempel * Country Life * Shute writes superbly and his book is both evocative and provocative -- Hephzibah Anderson * Mail on Sunday * Shute's enthusiasm, although lightly worn, is deeply infectious [...] he is never pretentious or aggrandising. At his best, he writes with a charming, immediate humanity -- Robert Leigh-Pemberton * Daily Telegraph * He has brought the raven out of the shadow into the light -- John Lewis-Stempel * Country Life * Filled with glimpses of ravens in the wild, woven together with fascinating historical details, this book sheds light on the role the bird has played in the life of these islands. Ravens appear in many guises: harbingers of death, but also heralds of new beginnings; thieves and murderers, but also affectionate and loyal. Brilliant! -- Michael Morpurgo * The Week *

Author Biography

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. @JoeShute / www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/joe-shute/