Since the first edition of this work came out in 1975, this work has been a must-have for anyone, layman or professional, who is interested in Australia's unique and very speciose collection of reptiles and amphibians. Successive upgrades through the years have kept this book up to date (but at the same time considerably larger and more expensive than the original).
Quite simply, this book is a guide to ALL of Australia's (including it's island territories) frogs and reptiles. Each taxa has a full description of it's appearance, distribution (by way of both text and an accompanying shaded map), habits and, in the majority of species, a corresponding colour photograph of the living animal. The book has very thorough and simple to use dichotomous keys that should allow any specimen in hand to be quickly identified. A comprehensive list of scientific references is also given for those wishing to conduct more in-depth research. Also included are basic guides to the collection, preservation and captive care of specimens.
I have only one gripe with the current (Sixth - year 2000) edition. Since (I think) 1992 there has been no major rewrite of the main text - instead an increasingly large Appendix of has been slapped on the end. The current Appendix is now over 40 pages long with numerous subsequently described species and nomeclatural rearrangements. It can be very annoying having to flick from the main text to the Appendix in such a large volume to see what the current information is.
Still, this is a bearable hardship to pay for such a treasuretrove of information and illustrations.