The Ravenmaster

The Ravenmaster

My Life With the Ravens at the Tower of London

Book - 2018
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"A narrative by the Tower of London's official Ravenmaster about what it's like to live among the ravens at England's most famous national monument, woven together with insight from folklore, history, and contemporary behavioral science about this unusual bird"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780374113346
Characteristics: viii, 241 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), portraits ; 22 cm


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Mar 28, 2020

What a fascinating and entertaining book! Although we have ravens where I live, I have to admit to previously knowing very little about them. They are definitely fun to watch, and one of my favorite sounds, ever, is the knocking sound they make!

This book combines personal memoir, nature, British history, and humor - and the author's genuine affection for the birds was very moving. I laughed when I read how they are a bit OCD. (My term - not Mr. Skaife's.) They have to go into their enclosure at night in a certain order. They also have to exit the enclosure in a certain order in the morning ... and the moment there is a change in their routine, all hell breaks loose! There is some recommended reading at the back of the book and I'm eager to learn more.

CCPL_Carly Mar 20, 2020

Inside the Tower of London resides Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife - The Ravenmaster. With entertaining wit and wisdom, Skaife shares his experience with the Tower ravens. His engaging memoir of life at the Tower includes both the gritty realism of caring for the birds and the mythology surrounding these dark creatures. For audio book readers, the author's own narration makes for great listening, especially with his wonderful accent. This title would be a wonderful suggestion for those curious about unique professions and bird behavior.

Jan 24, 2020

Perhaps I found this boring because I have never been to the Tower and seen the ravens. Not my cup to tea.

JessicaGma Oct 22, 2019

It's a lovely little book about the ravens and the raven masters - you learn a lot. Apparently the audiobook is read by the author, so give that a try for something fun!

LoganLib_Phoebe Jun 13, 2019

If you have ever visited the Tower of London, you should read this book. If you have never visited the Tower of London you should also read this book. Let Christopher Skaife, Ravenmaster and Yeoman Warder, give you a behind the scenes tour with a special focus on his charges, the Tower Ravens. They each have names and personalities! The book is infused with warmth and humour but is not without poignancy as Skaife reflects on his time in service and tragedies that have struck over the years.

Beaverton_JennieC Apr 25, 2019

Skaife's memoir is an unexpected treat that will capture your attention from page one. Writing about his life as the official Ravenmaster at the Tower of London, the author weaves in fascinating scientific and behavioral facts about ravens, as well as millenia of raven myth and lore. Legend has it that if the ravens disappear from the Tower, then England will fall, and so the Ravenmaster’s job is deadly serious. Luckily for us, though Skaife takes his job very, very seriously, his memoir is tons of fun to read. The author’s personality shines through on every page, and by the end of it you’ll be desperate to sit down and have a pint with him to hear him spin his yarns.

IndyPL_EllenF Mar 16, 2019

Chris Skaife's account of his life as Yeoman Warder and Ravenmaster at the Tower of London is filled with a love of history, a love of service, and a true love of the ravens he and his team care for every day. Each bird has a personality, from Merlina, who bonded with Chris and no one else, to Munin, who constantly tests the boundaries of raven behavior, and all the others in between, who show constantly that you should never underestimate a raven's intelligence or ability to be a trickster.

Feb 14, 2019

Wonderful memoir, if for nothing else than it's such a unusual story. But it's not for nothing else! Skaife is lively and engaging and you get the sense that you're on site at the Tower and he's giving you a special tour.

Feb 14, 2019

If you like bird books, also pick up "H is for Hawk."

Feb 02, 2019

A fun memoire to read about an ordinary bloke who found his way in life via military service in the UK, and who is grateful for his life caring for the ravens in the Tower of London. I've always known birds (and ravens in particular) are much smarter than we humans think; reading this book confirms this.

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