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The Aurelian's Fireside Companion: An Entomological Anthology [Hardcover]

Michael A. Salmon , Peter John Edwards , Alec S. Harmer , Tim Bernhard
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 455 pages
  • Publisher: Paphia Publishing Ltd; Limited Edition edition (18 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0953723615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0953723614
  • Product Dimensions: 27.8 x 21.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 588,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A sequel to "The Aurelian Legacy", "The Aurelian's Fireside Companion" is an entertaining, humorous-at times provocative and eccentric-miscellany of articles and observations about butterflies and moths and the individuals who collected them. With many photos, drawings and colour plates, it should appeal to everyone interested in butterflies and moths.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of men with nets 10 Aug 2010
This is a hefty book. It chronicles the motley band of butterfly collectors in Britain and how they catalogued species and unravelled mysteries. The passion for butterflies contributed to the development of natural history, at a time of rapid change and expansion. Lepidopterists came from all parts of society.

Full of entertaining stories, this book describes Percy Bright, Mayor of Bournemouth, who would turn up to collecting sites in his Rolls Royce and wave his cheque book at those with promising catches. Lord Walter Rothschild, a prolific collector, also broke in zebras and used them to pull his traps (instead of ponies). Much attention was paid to Will-o'-the-wisp and there were disputes in collecting circles about the possibility of it arising from bioluminescence. I was curious to read about the exploits of Henry Doubleday, cousin of the other Henry Doubleday (one of the founders of the organic gardening movement), who amassed a collection that ended up in the Bethnal Green museum.

In response to modern criticism of the destruction of so many insects, the editor notes that the collectors provided a valuable record, detailing what exists (and what was lost). Current moves to increase nesting sites for birds have led to a drop in butterfly populations, as birds feed on eggs, caterpillars and pupae.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back into a lost world. 23 April 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As David Dunbar so aptly put it in his book [British Butterflies. A History in Books.], this title is ideal for those with plenty of logs or from my own pre-decimal thoughts, a few cwt of coal to burn. Possibly aimed far more at those who have been active or passive lepidopterists for a good many years and speak the language. It makes no attempt to educate those who know little about the subject or to be any sort of primer. What it does do in a very excellent way is to relay to the knowledgeable reader all sorts of stories and the odd anectdote about well loved lepidopterists many of whom wrote books about the subject years past that were meant to increase technical knowledge. A very chatty sort of book that kept one reading and made it very difficult to put the book down and do something else. For those of us beyond a certain age it was like returning to the lost world of ones youth when the pesticide free countryside really was a lot more interesting than it is today. For those who know quite a lot about entomology especially the lepidoptera this book really will not disappoint.
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