Lectures | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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April 24, 2018 ǀ Book Launch – The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century

NHMLA is proud to celebrate the launch of Kirk Wallace Johnson’s new book, The Feather Thief - A rollicking true-crime adventure about a young American that stole hundreds of rare bird specimens from the British Natural History Museum in Tring. His book is a thought-provoking exploration on the debt we owe institutions that house precious collections and the human drive to possess natural beauty.

This evening Kirk will be interviewed by NHMLA President Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga on The Feather Thief. Their conversation will be followed by a Q&A and book signing. Special Museum collections highlighting this discussion will also be on display between 6 -7pm. Books are available for pre-order and purchase night-of the program.

Paid Parking is available at the Museum's Car Park located off of Bill Robertson Lane.


6pm – Doors open
7pm – Talk, followed by Q&A and book signing
8:30pm – Program concludes

FREE – RSVP Required.

Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
For NHMLA programs that are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early because seating is limited. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 6:30pm.




Kirk Wallace Johnson

Kirk W. Johnson is the author of The Feather Thief and To Be a Friend is Fatal: the Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind, which covers his work coordinating the reconstruction of Fallujah and his subsequent efforts on behalf of Iraqi refugees as the founder of the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies.

His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy, among others.

Johnson previously served in Iraq with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Baghdad and then Fallujah as the Agency's first coordinator for reconstruction in the war-torn city.

He is a Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, and the recipient of fellowships from the American Academy in Berlin, Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Wurlitzer Foundation.  Prior to his work in Iraq, he conducted research on political Islamism as a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt.  Johnson received his BA from the University of Chicago in 2002.

Born in West Chicago, he lives with his wife and two children in Los Angeles.