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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Love the VDI series. Timothy walker is incredibly knowledgeable. A great book for biologists and particularly uni freshers like myself.
Published 17 months ago by Whizz

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an introduction but more a refresher
This book fails not in content but in the presentation and style it is written in. What I think makes most of the VSI books great is that it is easy for a layman in the field to pick them up and get a good broad understanding of the subject area and have an enjoyable read.

Where this book goes wrong is:
- Over use of explanations or latin names in...
Published 9 months ago by SVERRIR SIGMUNDARSON and Rannv...


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not an introduction but more a refresher, 7 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This book fails not in content but in the presentation and style it is written in. What I think makes most of the VSI books great is that it is easy for a layman in the field to pick them up and get a good broad understanding of the subject area and have an enjoyable read.

Where this book goes wrong is:
- Over use of explanations or latin names in parenthesis. There is barely a sentence in this book that doesn't have detail text in parenthesis some sentences barely get a single word between a closing and opening parenthesis. The information in these does little for non-experts in the fields and actually detracts from the information.
- Too much jargon. I know that botanists have their special jargon like every field but there is a balancing point in how much of this can be presented in an introductory text. Especially where small nuances in latin pre or suffixes are sometimes the only thing that differentiates a substantially different family of plants.
- The book goes into way too much detail explaining details about a particular type of plants (e.g. the algae) without little context or comparison with the rest. Basically there are too many enumeration of attributes and characteristics that are really not that interesting in the broader picture
- The author fails in addressing and explaining the truly interesting facts that he puts forward. As an example I found it fascinating that brown algae is not a plant but an animal. But the author never explains this beyond stating it as a fact. Why? I have to look elsewhere to answer this question

I think the biggest flaw in this book is that it lacks a central storyline from start to finish. In an introduction such as this the reader needs to be taken on a guided tour of the subject area.

Sadly I cannot recommend this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 20 July 2013
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This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Love the VDI series. Timothy walker is incredibly knowledgeable. A great book for biologists and particularly uni freshers like myself.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Gem, 14 May 2012
This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Don't be mislead by the title of this book 'Plants: A Very Short Introduction' is not short on detail. When Timothy Walker says that Charles Darwin's `Origin of the Species' should be compulsory reading for all first year biology students I would add this book to that list too. In fact anyone from A-Level upwards with an interest in Biology. The book may be a short introduction but it contains everything the keen student needs to learn. It is written in an easy to read humorous style e.g. "Botanically speaking a tree is just a plant with a stick up the middle". All good solid text book information put across in an engaging style and with an excellent chapter on plant conservation. Well done Mr Walker!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stroll Through the Field of Plant Biology, 12 July 2012
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Plants are, quite literary, everywhere. From the human perspective they are certainly the most recognizable and ubiquitous life form, and they have had an outsize impact on the Earth's environment and natural history. Plants are essential for our nutrition, and the history of civilization can on one level be understood in terms of our increasing ability to cultivate and harness the plant-based biomass for our survival needs. Plants have also had, and continue to have, a very important role in medicine. This book looks at those aspects of plants, but even more importantly it tries to instill the appreciation for these incredible organisms in their own right.

This book covers some of the most important aspects of the plant biology - the nature and the structure of the plant cell, the evolution of the plant life, and the spread and adaptation of plants to various climates and environments. The most fascinating part of the book is the one that tries to explain the invasion of the land by plants. This is probably one of the most significant events in the natural history, and without it no other kind of land life would have been possible, and you and I would probably not be reading this book. It is quite incredible how many technical problems needed to be resolved for the plants to leave the aquatic environment and successfully adopt themselves for the life on the land. Many of these adaptations we take for granted, if we even think about them (such as the ability of plants to accumulate and store large quantities of water and prevent their desiccation.) This book does a marvelous job of describing these adaptations and putting them within the context of plant biology in general.

For me personally one of the biggest lessons from the reading of this book was the renewed appreciation of the field and "macro" biology. Over the past two decades there has been an increasing pressure in university departments and other scientific organization on the micro and molecular biology. Those are indeed very important and trendy topics, but there is much more to life, and plant life in particular, than what can be deduced from observing it under the microscope or in the test tube. We could be decoding every gene out there until we are blue in face, but if we don't have a good appreciation for what macroscopic function for the given organism those genes serve, we'll never be fully able to understand its meaning and purpose. Those macroscopic aspects of biology are still hugely important, and a short book like this one can go a long way of reminding us of their utility and beauty.

Whether you are a plant aficionado or someone who needs to brush up on their high school plant biology, this short book will provide you with a lot of interesting pieces of information and insights into what continues to make plants such an interesting subject of fascination and study.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Informative!, 3 Aug 2012
By 
kclam (Hong Kong, China) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This book presents a useful account of plant evolution, plant biology, plant taxonomy, dispersal and germination of seeds, impact of plants on life and their conservation. In addition, there are many beautiful illustrations. However, the plant biology stuff is a bit boring.

A plant is often defined as an immobile organism that has the ability to photosynthesize. The first plants were the first photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms that emerged. Drugs are not the only thing that we get from plants for which Chinese herbal medicine is probably widely used. Plants also improve the qualities of our lives and provide us food and material as well as habitat for other species.

A majority of countries have signed and ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity. These countries had adopted a Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and made some progress in the plant conservation by the year 2010. In addition, the Millennium Seed Bank Project have contributed to building capacity for plants conservation in many countries. In the future, seeds stored in seed banks can be used for migration of plants from one nature reserve to another.
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Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Timothy Walker (Paperback - 26 April 2012)
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