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Blechman, Andrew D.

Blechman, Andrew D.

PERSONAL:

Married; children: one daughter.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Berkshire County, MA, and Germany. Agent—Catherine Drayton, Inkwell Management, 521 5th Ave., 26th Fl., New York, NY 10175. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Journalist. Has worked for the Los Angeles Times and the Des Moines Register.

WRITINGS:

Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to magazines and newspapers, including the Smithsonian, New York Times, and New York Observer.

SIDELIGHTS:

Andrew D. Blechman's first book, Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird, charts the history of the "winged rats" from their role in ancient Egypt as symbols of peace and fertility to their use as messengers during war time, as Darwin's research subjects, and as sporting pets. The relationship between people and pigeons started going sour with the growth of urban habitats, which suited the birds so well that their population mushroomed.

The book originated as an article for the Smithsonian about a pigeon racer; Blechman used his journalism skills to immerse himself in the subculture of pigeon aficionados, those who race pigeons across cityscape rooftops, breed rare and distinguished-looking species, or enter them in homing competitions in which the birds fly upwards of one hundred miles per hour from West Virginia to New York. Along the way Blechman realized pigeons were worthy of their own book. Thus, Pigeons turns conventional wisdom on its head; far from being a dirty nuisance, the author states, a pigeon is a feathered counterpart to the prizewinning show dog or rare specimen of orchid in this "enjoyable and informative book," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. However, recounting the informal campaign to eliminate pigeons in populated areas (including a visit to an annual pigeon shoot in Pennsylvania) becomes "by turns hilarious and sickening," according Robert Eagan in a review for Library Journal. "For once, a subtitle that doesn't exaggerate!" wrote Matthew Price in the New York Times Book Review, calling Pigeons a "charming book" that relates the agony and the ecstasy bestowed upon the world's oldest domesticated bird.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Audubon, January, 2007, Julie Leibach, review of Pigeons: The Fascinating Saga of the World's Most Revered and Reviled Bird, p. 80.

Booklist, October 1, 2006, Nancy Bent, review of Pigeons, p. 11.

Library Journal, September 15, 2006, Robert Eagan, review of Pigeons, p. 85.

New York Times Book Review, January 7, 2007, Matthew Price, review of Pigeons, p. 20.

OnEarth, January, 2007, Florence Williams, review of Pigeons, p. 41.

Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2006, review of Pigeons, p. 189.

School Library Journal, February, 2007, Brigeen Radoicich, review of Pigeons, p. 149.

ONLINE

Pigeons Web site,http://andrewblechman.com (May 2, 2007).

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