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on 24 February 2009
Howard Falcon-Lang (Royal Holloway, University of London) writes: Presented with the extraordinary wealth of British fossil sites, any attempt to write a guide for the general public faces two problems. The first is the temptation to cover absolutely everything and get bogged down with arcane fossil names and innumerable collecting sites. The victim of this approach is the usually the amazing `story' of the History of Life. The second temptation is to treat the subject at such a superficial level that the results are of no earthly use to the would-be amateur collector. Thankfully, Peter Doyle's new book on British Fossils finds an admirable middle road. It places fossils in their evolutionary and geological context while providing enough information to identify some of the most common specimens that might turn up on a beach.

There are several facets of this book that make it especially attractive. First of all, it takes care to explain the basics: in an opening chapter titled the Meaning of Fossils we learn about what fossils represent, how they are fossilized, what they tell us about the evolving Earth, and how they are named and classified. Second, we are introduced to the geological structure of the British Isles, which provides the essential framework for any keen collector. This is nicely illustrated with examples of the spectacular scenery of Britain and the varied contexts (from coal mines to sea stacks) that yield fossils. A third noteworthy aspect is the way the book discusses the taxonomy, biology and ecology of common fossils before providing an illustrated guide. It therefore goes well beyond a simple identification guide, offering genuine understanding. Overall, this book will fill a gap in the geotourism market and will be widely used wherever British fossils are found.
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on 4 March 2014
THIS IS AN ADDITION ADDED ON DECEMBER 3 2014. Following my original rating of 3 stars, the author has been harassing me about my rating and comments, and rather that giving me an explanation to my complaints related to his books shortcomings, has instead, simply insisted on justifying its shortcomings. Due to this needless harassment, I have reduced my rating for this rather poor book which does not 'do what it says it can do on the back cover'to 1 star. My original review follows:

Ok for a complete beginner, but not enough detail, well, almost none, about where to look and what to look for.

The author has contacted me about my review, and suggested that a 2 star rating is a bit harsh. This was my reply to the author:

"The problem is Peter, that the book description is misleading. I am in particular referring to "With photographs of the fossils that can be discovered, and tips on how to find them yourself, "British Fossils" is the perfect companion for the novice fossil hunter or enthusiast". This is why I purchased the book, but in actual fact, it was nothing like a 'perfect companion for the novice fossil hunter' (me), so I felt that I had been deceived into making the purchase. Sorry about the 2 star rating. I will happily up it to a 3 star rating if you change the misleading description, refund me my cash, or send me some useful information for what to look for at different beaches on the Jurassic coast".

I am sure this book will be very informative and interesting for general reading, but I reiterate, it does not actually help you to know what to look for or where to look for fossils in any detail that is usable on a practical level.
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on 24 October 2014
fossil hunting is my passion this book gave me all the information i needed and more a very good read & reference book went of to whitby fossil hunting with a lot more knowledge. thank you.
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on 2 May 2015
This is an interesting and informative book. Recommended for anyone who is seeking the basics.
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on 10 May 2015
Good book,brought as gift,person loved it
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on 27 September 2013
not many books that just does british fossils so l can
use it find out where to look for my fossils when l get the time
to explore the british isles
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on 23 November 2014
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on 13 October 2010
Really a potboiler or bog book for scientific boys, a nice intro to fossils in the UK.
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