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Feather Thief


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114 replies to this topic

#31 Gene L

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 09:57 AM

 

. I believe a serious fly tier would be denying himself if he/she did not read it.
JoeI

If you have read the reviews and the online interviews you know the book has nothing to do with flytying. It is about one man's obsession with another man's crime. Although it seems the author may be disparaging toward Classic Flytyers, maybe even towards Serious flytyers.

I will say this, I don't feel a bit bad about not having read this book and I really have no intentions of reading until after I have read the hundreds of serious books About flytying. 

 

It's not really about fly tying, as an instructional or a pattern book.  It's not even about the serious fly tyers on this site.  It's about a guy who stole a lot of rare bird skins to feed an obsession and make a reputation.  Before him, the salmon fly tiers would shop  for rare feathers in 19th century clothing and hats.  Classic Fly Tying is mentioned, since there is apparently more of a tolerance for his theft than elsewhere.  I didn't feel offended in reading this book as it has nothing to do with me, and likely, you.



#32 tjm

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 11:49 AM

Gene, that is what I gathered from the reviews, not about anything of real interest to me or most tyers. The stuff I read online did show the author to be just as obsessed as the thief.

And yes lots of taxidermy and old hats have been dismantled for the materials and still are being salvaged. Apparently the thief  sold the stolen birds as loose feathers such as would be the result of salvage?

And there are endangered birds sold on the auction as "found dead",

I will agree that it is a great loss to the future scientists, and, I am astonished at how long it took the curators to miss the huge numbers of pelts lost. If the curators had acted properly at the time the break-in was reported the pelts would have been missed and  likely would have been recovered, thief was not that careful to cover his tracks. 

Shame about the banks that got robbed and the folks that get mugged too.



#33 Gene L

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Posted 04 November 2018 - 01:17 PM

The author was intrigued, which led to his writing the book and I think is why the book is read and talked about.  Not because it informs us how to tie flies, but because of Rist's obsession. Obsessions interest us, the greater the obsession the greater the interest.  It would take Rist up to a day to tie a single fly. 



#34 cphubert

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 10:11 AM

The author was obsessed and as bad as the thief, he viewed any tier with a rare feather as a suspect and accomplice that had to have bought the goods from the heist that he was investigating and conducting his public trial  AFTER the court had completed its action. I would not buy the book to support him in any way and his negative views of the classic fly tying community and fly tiers in general. Most classic material is now substituted, real material is still found in vintage collections and had been legally collected. It is unfortunate about the 2009 museum / scientific community loss and many museums and universities changed policies after loosing collections but the court handed its verdict and sentence to the thief not the fly tying world.



#35 Gene L

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 11:58 AM

You got this from reading the book?  I didn't at all.



#36 Mogup

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 12:43 PM

Gene L. I agree with cphubert . I'm the OP and my post was about my concern with the author and his intent. Are you more than a fan of Mr. Wallace's ?

#37 salmobytes

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 02:00 PM

This is a very well written book.  It's a fun read.  Those who both draw conclusions and criticize the book without reading it remind me of......

 

I won't say what it reminds me of. But I do wonder:  when was the last time the won't readers read any book at all? 


/* Colin (Sandy) Pittendrigh >--oO0>
** http://montana-riverboats.com */


#38 xvigauge

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 02:36 PM

Gene ... to answer your query.  Here a series of reasons, based on the reviews presented above.

I'm glad I borrowed the book and did not buy it.
[/quote]
The final statement says it all.  It's not worth buying, then it's probably not worth my time at all.
 

After all the online finger pointing and lecturing I probably would not be interested in the book 99% of tiers have little interest in such rare material.
[/quote]
Again, the final statement says it all ... and I agree.
 

The guy burglarized museum and stole rare bird skins, profited from their sale, and basically skated. 
  I have zero sympathy for him ...
[/quote]
I'm not sure if your talking about the author, or someone in the book.  Either way, I don't want to read about it.  Too much criminal activity being glamorized as it is.

 

I believe a serious fly tier would be denying himself if he/she did not read it.Joe
[/quote]
And there's this.  If all "Serious Fly Tiers" should read the book, I'll be glad to accept that I am NOT a "Serious Fly Tier".
[/quote]

Mike, I believe that this forum is designed for the serious fly tier. After reading your posts on this thread and in fact, the vast majority of your posts on this forum, I have to agree with you that you are not a serious fly tier.
Joe



#39 Gene L

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 03:44 PM

Gene L. I agree with cphubert . I'm the OP and my post was about my concern with the author and his intent. Are you more than a fan of Mr. Wallace's ?

I'm not necessarily a fan of Wallace; first thing I've ever read by him. And probably the last, unless he writes something else that interests me.  I think he did a good job writing the book, and can't imagine anyone praising Rist or anyone who obtains illegal feathers.  It kept my attention, and more important, got me interested in the small clique of Classic salmon tiers, from which I make my own judgements.  It's not about fly tying in general, it's about a black market of exotic tiers and indirectly about those who support them.

 

At least you read the book, and even if you didn't buy it, someone else did.  I feel some here are knee-jerking in their responses based entirely on supposition. 



#40 Mogup

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 03:53 PM

They should read the book. It has some points of interest. Would not want to give Wallace a nickel for it though. Just to let you know I'm one of those thugs that have been hanging out at the fly fishing show for the last 20 yrs or more.

#41 Gene L

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 03:58 PM

What do you think his intent was?  He's a trout fisherman, so it can't  be said he's against fly fishing.



#42 Mogup

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 04:11 PM

His intent was and has been to sell books. Mystery,intrigue,sex,danger !!! Those are the elememts of selling a
book to the mainstream. Do you really think he attended the fly tying show and was given "Glaring looks" by over 250 men
attending the show. I doubt more than a dozen knew who was at the time of his attendance. We had a woman walk into our fly tying class last week and she said "Wow this is fly tying . I just finished the Book Thief." I think she picked up some negative images of what fly tying is about from this book. " and that is my concerned . The general public is getting a negative impression of the craft and the people who participate and I must say for the most part I have been very fortunate to meet so many nice,helpful,generous over all good people from this pastime. As far as Mr. Johnson being a fly fisherman I think they named a fly after him. "Dabbler". He should come on this thread and address some of these concerns.

#43 Gene L

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 04:40 PM

As well they should.  I myself have a negative reaction to those who deal in contraband and line their pockets at the expense of history.  The entire title of his book includes "Beauty, Obsession, and Natural History" and I think is key to understanding why Rist (and others) break laws and deal in extinct and endangered species and blow a hole in natural history.  If you want him to come here, invite him.  Understand, though, he has no obligation to explain himself to us, since he has already done so in the book.

 

As a writer and a former editor, I understand his motivation.  How many pattern books get positive reviews from critics?  Rist was/is a sick puppy.  And very selfish.



#44 tjm

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 06:16 PM

Mr. Wallace??

I thought the author's name was Johnson.



#45 Gene L

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 06:27 PM

Wallace Johnson.