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Weeds - interesting but the accuracy!
on 8 November 2010
I quite liked the book, but the accuracy of the some of the content and the grammar were both poor. For instance Japanese knotweed (the number 1 weed in the UK) was confused with Japweed - a totally different weed! (Note to author: Japweed is an invasive seaweed, not a name used by anyone else for Japanese knotweed...). Giant Hogweed is a short lived perennial, taking between 5-7 years to set seed and then die, it is not normally regarded as a biennial. All of this information could and should have been checked prior to publication. The level of detail and accuracy in this chapter 'Triffids'was (in my view) very poor indeed. If this had been presented to me by a student, it would have failed.
A 4-page synopsis of the Day of the Triffids (a fictional weed) was again marred by incorrect statements. I would also ask why 4 pages were necessary for this? Did the author have to fill the chapter and couldn't be bothered to think of another (more relevant) topic? Further pages were used up discussing fictional weed scenarios and apparently promoting other books! This chapter could have been so much better and more interesting. Does the author need photographs showing these weeds and the damage they can do? I'm happy to supply them!
To me this book (and large parts of it were enjoyed by me) has been finished in a rush. Several chapters need extensive re-writing to correct poor (and confusing) use of English and accuracy needs to be thoroughly checked. The author's opinions on Japanese knotweed cannot be taken seriously when he has throughly mis-understood/mistaken much of its biology and history, although this may be partly understood by his apparently confusing two totally different invasive weeds.
As I have already stated, I did enjoy large parts of the book and like the author's style of writing in the earlier chapters, but this enjoyment has been frustrated by other parts of the book. I would say to the author, please re-write/edit this book, chuck out or condense areas and expand other areas, sort the accuracy out. I love weeds and wild flowers, and with a little extra work this book could be great, but as it stands (in my view) it isn't!