Most helpful critical review
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Easy to digest, pretty pictures, diagrams; not much else.
on 13 January 2004
I bought this book when i chanced upon it at my local Waterstones. It has lots of illustrations, colour photographs, and simple diagrams - but in terms of the detail and depth of information contained in the text it's quite lacking. I would recommend this book to those who struggle with new concepts, or horrible complex areas of the syllabus, such as respiration and photosynthesis; the book explains these areas in a simple straightforward manner, without too much biological jargon or useless information. The page layout is very clear and easy-to-follow, with blocks of text sectioned off under brightly coloured headers. On the other hand, this book just doesn't go into enough scientific detail for my liking. Many of the units and concepts covered lack the fine detail that would be needed to get an A grade. I have even spotted a mistake in the text (of the 2nd, and latest, Edition) - in the unit covering meiosis it says that during Early Prophase I the /centromeres/ move to opposite poles, when it should say that the micro-tubule organising centres (aka centrioles) move to opposite poles. Another annoying thing is that although they've wrongly mentioned the centromeres in their description of meiosis I, they also fail to mention the behaviour or function of the centromeres at all anywhere else in the unit - eg. under 'Metaphase I' they fail to mention that the centromeres do not replicate, for which reason the sister chromatids remain as a single unit and aren’t separated in the proceeding Anaphase. Furthermore, under 'Metaphase II' they don't mention at all that the centromeres divide, thus allowing each sister chromatid to form a daughter chromosome in the each of the gametes made - they simply say that each chromatid migrates to opposite poles, without saying how or why. The most annoying thing however, is that they do not provide answers to the past examination questions that are at the end of each chapter - and the CD-Rom which supposedly has those answers is apparently supplied by neither any of the major book retailers nor Collins themselves! If you want an in-depth A-grade book then i'd recommend 'Advanced Biology' by Oxford University Press - it's more detailed, has better exam questions (to which answers are provided in the back of the book!), and it also costs less!