This book is a dense review and overview of various aspects of fungal biology. In the foreword, the authors note that the book is intended for first and second year (university) students in biology (in Europe). The book is divided into three sections: the fungal lifestyle, including hyphae, mycelium, and substrate; the environment, including water, oxygen, light, temperature, and competition; and reproduction, including trophophase to idiophase, nuclear relationships, spores, germination, and interactions with man (sic). Some of the chapters, like the one on hyphae, are relatively extensive, and others, like the chapters in the environment section are only a few pages long and give just the briefest overview. As might be expected, the text is amply illustrated with photographs, drawings, diagrams, and charts. There is a 4-page glossary at the beginning of the book, a classification scheme at the end of the book, a 4-page list of references for further readings, and an index. There are no study questions or suggested projects.
I approached this book after taking an introductory course in biology and an introductory course in botany. If I had not taken the botany course, I think this book would have been very difficult slogging indeed, since readers are assumed from the start to have a firm grasp of the life cycles of organisms that use spores for reproduction. I found the section on hyphae particularly illuminating compared to other material that I have read about mycology- -before reading this book, I thought the hyphae were simply mysterious tubes or filaments that fungi used for some unknown purpose. On the other hand, the section in this book on the mycelium left me scratching my head. Many other sections weren't exactly beginner friendly; for example, there is very little in-text explanation of terminology. If a term is unfamiliar, students are presumably expected to look it up in the glossary or use some other resource- -or else they should approach the text with a few more botany or mycology courses under their belts than I had. Overall, I think the book might be a good choice for a concise review of the mycology field; it might also be a good source for dipping in to for readings on specific topics like hyphae. But there are a number of alternative textbooks that might be better choices for a general introduction to mycology.