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“War Pigeons” Book Talk with Author Elizabeth Macalaster

Thursday, February 25, 2021 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm

The library welcomes author Elizabeth Macalaster of Brunswick, ME for an online presentation discussing her new book War Pigeons: Winged Couriers in the U.S. Military, 1878-1957 (McFarland Books,  October 2020). Email jpierce@librarycamden.org to request a Zoom link to attend.

For more than seven decades homing pigeons provided the U.S military with its fastest most reliable means of communication.  Trained by pigeoneers to fly up to 60 mph for hundreds of miles, homing pigeons served our country in four wars on four continents.  Weighing barely a pound, these extraordinary birds carried messages in and out of gas, smoke, exploding bombs and gunfire.  They flew unwavering through jungles and over desert and icy mountains, not faltering even when faced with an expanse of ocean to cross.  Time and again, when all other means of communication failed, pigeons were trusted to carry home vital messages.  Sometimes they arrived nearly dead from wounds or exhaustion, but only death itself stopped them.

War Pigeons, is the first complete accounting of the remarkable service of homing pigeons with American armed forces, from its fledgling beginnings after the Civil War, to the birds’ invaluable role in communications through both world wars and beyond. War Pigeons chronicles a poignant and enduring legacy.

Elizabeth Macalaster started her career as a marine biologist, studying a deep-water, North Atlantic octopus.  She then turned to science journalism and worked for the Department of the Interior and the EPA on water quality issues. Macalaster writes science and history articles for magazines and newspapers on topics ranging from bridges to homing pigeons.

Macalaster also likes to write haibuns, and her poems have appeared in online journals and in the anthologies The Best of Write Action, No. 2 (2010), and Prey Tell (2015).

Under the pen name, Ryan Ann Hunter, Macalaster and Pamela D. Greenwood collaborated on award-winning nonfiction books for children and young adults.  Their YA book, In Disguise! Undercover With Real Women Spies, reveals the achievements of unsung heroines throughout history.

Macalaster is also the author of Reckoning At Harts Pass, an adventure/thriller in which homing pigeons play a covert role. 

Learn more about the author at: https://elizabethgmacalaster.com/

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Camden, ME 04843 United States