Tim Birkhead FRS is a professor at the University of Sheffield where he teaches animal behaviour and history of science. Among his other books are Promiscuity; Great Auk Islands; The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Birds, which won the McColvin medal; The Red Canary, which won the Consul Cremer Prize; Bird Sense, which was the Guardian's and the Independent's Natural History Book of the Year; and The Most Perfect Thing, winner of the Zoological Society of London's Communicating Zoology Award for 2016. He lives in Sheffield.
In this engrossing biography of the first true ornithologist , Birkhead takes us on imaginative journey to the time of Charles II, when there was no classification of animals, birds and plants; when men such as Willughby often endured great hardship in order to make ground-breaking discoveries -- Bel Mooney * Daily Mail * Energetically pursuing his quarry, Birkhead has combined ingenuity and perseverance to produce an evocative portrait of a great pioneer in the scientific study of birds -- Patricia Fara * Literary Review * Brilliantly researched - a vivid celebration of a neglected pioneer of scientific natural history -- Nick Davies, author of 'Cuckoo' A joint celebration of two of the great scientific brains of the Age of Reason ... [An] engaging study' * Country Life * [A] precise and rigorously told biography ... There's a quiddity about [Birkhead's] writing that follows in his subject's steps -- Philip Hoare * New Statesman * Fascinating * Big Issue * Francis Willughby is an ideal subject for a biography ... An entertaining and informative book, packed with well-explained scientific detail -- Sam Leith * Spectator * The story of Willughby's short life, elegantly and engagingly told by Tim Birkhead -- Francis Gooding * London Review of Books * Enthralling ... Tim Birkhead's careful sleuthing uncovers the remarkable story of an ingenious gentleman-scholar living at the dawn of the scientific revolution -- Matt Ridley, author of 'The Evolution of Everything' If you ever thought the history of natural history might be dull, this wonderful book, a masterpiece of biographical sleuthing, will quickly dispel that illusion ... The author's passion for his subjects, both human and avian, shine through as he brings history to life and relates past to present -- Jonathan Elphick * BBC Wildlife * Magnificent: science without any high falutin' technology -- Praise for 'The Most Perfect Thing', David Attenborough Brilliant. It's so wonderful when you come across a book on a subject you are not naturally drawn to and you're completely engaged by it -- Praise for 'The Most Perfect Thing', Bill Bryson Full of wonder and surprise and beautifully written -- Praise for 'The Most Perfect Thing', Nick Davies, author of 'Cuckoo' Birkhead's approach to writing - hard, clear sentences; deep, revelatory looking - has the same effect as his microscope, bringing objects to light that were previously hidden, making us see the familiar with new eyes ... After reading The Most Perfect Thing, you'll never dip your morning soldiers without a shiver of wonder at the complexity and resgourcefulness of the humble egg -- Praise for 'The Most Perfect Thing', Alex Preston * Observer *