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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Birds of Europe
Very good book excellent price if anyone has an interest in birding, a must for your collection
Published on 30 Nov 2009 by Ap Flint

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The best and worst of Lars Jonsson
This book has a rather complicated pre-history. From 1976 to 1980, the Swedish writer, painter and bird-watcher Lars Jonsson wrote and illustrated a five-volume work on European birds. The reactions were mixed. On the one hand, Jonsson's paintings of birds were rightly admired, and the entire five-book series was translated into English. On the other hand, many Swedish...
Published on 24 Aug 2008 by Ashtar Command


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Birds of Europe, 30 Nov 2009
By 
Ap Flint (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Birds of Europe (Paperback)
Very good book excellent price if anyone has an interest in birding, a must for your collection
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars birds of europe, 7 Jan 2010
By 
S. Davies "culture creature" (Prague, CZ) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Birds of Europe (Paperback)
Excellent book. Handy size and drawings are excellent. Bought it as a Christmas present for my husband who is a keen bird watcher and who already has a few books on birds of Britain and Europe. He was thrilled with it and said it contains many references to species not found in his other books. Book arrived very promplty, in plenty of time for Christmas.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a classic but not very well printed, 17 Feb 2009
By 
Ivens Koen Herman Cecilia (Rome, Italy) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Birds of Europe (Paperback)
Considered one of the best fieldguides, I agree. I love Lars Jonsson's work. Poor print quality.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The best and worst of Lars Jonsson, 24 Aug 2008
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This review is from: Birds of Europe (Paperback)
This book has a rather complicated pre-history. From 1976 to 1980, the Swedish writer, painter and bird-watcher Lars Jonsson wrote and illustrated a five-volume work on European birds. The reactions were mixed. On the one hand, Jonsson's paintings of birds were rightly admired, and the entire five-book series was translated into English. On the other hand, many Swedish bird-watchers considered the books difficult to use in the field, and expensive to boot. In 1992, Jonsson tried to remedy the problem by publishing a one-volume work based on the previous five volumes. It was called "Birds of Europe". For some reason, it was first published in English. Several editions of it exists. My review is of the 2006 edition, the one with the owl on the cover. (Amazon may have placed this review at some other product pages as well.)

First, the positives. Lars Jonsson is an excellent artist, working in what I suppose could be called the Classical Realist tradition. His illustrations are quite simply great, and almost make the birds come to life. Often, he places the birds in their natural environment, and paints them as they really look like in the field, pre-occupied with wading, perching, eating, or whatever it is birds do. I'm particularly impressed by his ducks, shorebirds, owls, nightjars, thrushes and finches! This makes the book worth the money, for both bird-lovers and art-lovers, and indeed book-lovers.

But is "Birds of Europe" really a good field guide? Several other reviewers have expressed a large amount of scepticism on this point. I'm not a bird-watcher myself (my idea of bird-watching is strolling down to some local duck pond to watch the Canadian geese LOL), but I tend to agree. Lars Jonsson is either better at painting birds than at editing books, or perhaps his editor is a lazy bum who coldly calculates that everything with the name "Lars Jonsson" on it will sell, no matter what. For every good illustration, there seems to be an ill-organized, spotty page with dozens of identical-looking flying birds, impossible to tell apart from each other due to confusing captions! Even on the good pages, the captions are often confusing. Sometimes the birds are illustrated on the same page as the species presentation, sometimes on the facing page, and sometimes somewhere else entirely. Some species aren't illustrated at all. And the range maps seem to be all over the place! For some reason, the section on raptors seem particularly screwed up.

There is another problem as well. The book is called "Birds of Europe with North Africa and the Middle East". However, many North African and Mideastern species are illustrated with small pictures only, some are only mentioned in the text, and others aren't mentioned at all! It also looks as if the book doesn't cover the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira. And our good old friend, the ring necked parakeet, is only partially illustrated (sic). This stingy treatment hardly justifies the sub-title "with North Africa and the Middle East".

Because of the lay-out problems and bad editing, I cannot give this book five stars. However, as a collection of vintage bird art, it's worth buying anyway. It's a book for your bookshelf, rather than your backpack.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Birds of Europe, 13 May 2013
This review is from: Birds of Europe (Paperback)
I got this book when I was 10 years old. It is battered, chewed and worn.

I have never had any issues with it. Layout is clear and images amazing. Many have commented on it as a rival to the legendary Collins guide (Even RSPB employees).

Well worth it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful artwork from 'The Master', 9 Oct 2010
By 
Birdnut (Cambridgeshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Birds of Europe (Paperback)
This book was first published in 1992, and it held the title of 'Top Birders Field Guide' until the Collins Bird Guide was published in 1999. Of course this guide is the one with illustrations by Lars Jonsson, arguably the greatest 'natural' bird artist in the world. His work is perhaps not best suited to the field guide format, but his birds almost fly off the page they are so realistic. They are also at a larger size than in most guides, and this makes for a real feast for the eyes! Lars also wrote the text, so this book represents an amazing body of work for one person. I notice that rather surprisingly this guide is becoming difficult to obtain from Amazon. I do hope it will be available again soon as I think that everyone into Birdwatching should own this book.
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