The fastest animal on earth, the falcon deserves attention not just for the combination of speed, power, beauty and ferocity that have made it an object of fascination for thousands of years, but for the light it sheds, mirror-like, on the cultures through which it has flown. "Falcon" surveys the practical and symbolic uses of falcons in human culture in new and exciting ways; bridging science and cultural history, and packed with fascinating facts and many illustrations, the book offers thought-provoking and sophisticated cultural analysis in a lively, approachable style. Helen Macdonald describes the complete history of the bird, ranging across the globe and over many millennia, as well as incorporating the latest scientific discoveries. There are chapters on falcon natural history; myth and legend; falconry; conservation; falcons in the military, in urban settings and the corporate world. Along the way, the reader will discover how falcons were mobilized in secret military projects, their links with espionage, the Third Reich and the space programme, and how they've featured in erotic stories. The book explores their veneration as gods in Ancient Egypt, their role as cultural icons in the Middle East, and their recruitment by the advertising industry to promote all manner of products, from photocopiers to jet planes. "Falcon" combines in-depth practical, personal and scientific knowledge of falcons with a strong analytical perspective, on the place of these birds in human history. It will be enjoyed by specialists and non-specialists alike: lovers of the countryside, birdwatchers, students of cultural history, or anyone who has ever wondered why falcons are so compelling.