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Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Unforgettable Behaviour
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Unforgettable Behaviour
by Rosamund Kidman Cox
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best wildlife action photography in the world, 10 Jun. 2017
A reed warbler swooping to pluck a fish from the water. A giant bullfrog digging a channel to allow tadpoles to swim to deeper water. An amazingly tender moment of a gorilla cradling her two offspring in the rain. A herd of muskoxen charging over the tundra directly towards the photographer. A mountain goat managing to climb a vertical cliff face to lick minerals from the rock.
These are just a few of the jaw dropping photographs brought together here in this collection of images from past Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions. This is an amazing selection of some of the best wildlife photographs in the world, and the accompanying extended captions make it also a very educational read. Highly recommended.


The Making Of The British Landscape: From the Ice Age to the Present
The Making Of The British Landscape: From the Ice Age to the Present
by Nicholas Crane
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.94

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The human footprint on Britain, 23 Jan. 2017
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There were humans in Britain before the last ice age but the glaciers caused them to retreat south and erased most evidence of their presence. As the climate warmed and the ice melted they gradually moved north again, and have been in occupation ever since. This book follows the human history throughout this time, and the way it shaped the landscape. Perhaps it's important to stress this point - the book largely follows a human story - it's about the land that's cleared, the farms that are made, the buildings that are built and the industry that's pursued. It's a history book with an emphasis on our connection to the land.
Crane's style is to paint pictures with words. I suspect if you like him as a TV presenter you'll like this book, though personally I prefer a more descriptive text. He gives accounts of the way things happened thousands of years ago with a level of detail that makes me think he's reading between the lines of the evidence a little. I'd have preferred some accounts of the archaeological finds and how they have been interpreted, but we get none of these. For me his style leaves me a little wanting for more factual details and fewer words. And some of the detail that is missing is a little surprising. He sometimes seems to be deliberately cryptic about places - giving clues to location but omitting place names. There are also no maps or illustrations but there are some excellent photographs - it really needs both.
This is my first book on the subject and I've learnt quite a lot, but I'm slightly left wondering if I could have learnt more. Those who enjoy Crane on TV and who appreciate a picture painting literary stye will probably like this book the most.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2017 12:33 PM BST


Evolution
Evolution
by Douglas Futuyma
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £46.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution for degree students, 29 Oct. 2016
This review is from: Evolution (Hardcover)
This seems to me to be the standard reference work on evolution for degree students, with a detailed and comprehensive coverage of the subject. It's not for beginners at all and the author assumes a good previous knowledge of genetics and cladistics. The book largely deals with the finer details of evolution and the mechanisms involved, with plenty of mathematical explanations. There is a chapter on evolutionary life history but this is not really the target subject. There's lots of very useful references, illustrations and graphs. I'm not a student myself, and didn't understand all of the maths and detailed genetics, but came away with greater understanding of the subject. Highly recommended.


The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
The Ice Age: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Jamie Woodward
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Four stars for science history, 30 Jan. 2016
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If your particular interest is science history then this is the Ice Age book for you. It has a great deal of detail about the historical development of the understanding of the ice age, stretching back to times when scientists were beginning to overturn ideas that many geological features were created by the biblical flood. The path of discovery and debate amongst the great scientists of the day does make a fascinating story, though personally I was a little disappointed since I am more interested in the current understanding of events, which occupies only about a third of the book. A good read, nonetheless, but if you just want an account of current thinking (or ice age wildlife) it might be better to look elsewhere.


Evolution: The Whole Story
Evolution: The Whole Story
by Steve Parker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.85

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to browse through, good to read, 1 Dec. 2015
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Books on subjects like this normally seem to fall into one of two groups - either they're picture books or wordy books to be read from cover to cover. This one seems to be a pretty good attempt to combine both ideas. At first sight it might seem to be a picture book, but the text goes beyond the extended captions you often get in such a book. The standard of the photographs and illustrations is generally excellent and the picture editor has done a great job. The quality of the reconstructions is variable (they come from various sources) but some of them are superb. With some of the recent animals I was initially fooled into thinking they were actually photographs. There are some good ideas such as frequent listing of timed key events across the bottom of the page that provide a quick to read summary, but I found some of the captioning methods (such as repeating sections of a main image with an unnecessary navigator) a little gimmicky.
The format of the book is a series of 'features', each covering two or four pages, so it's probably easier to read sections as you wish rather than cover to cover. Features deal with individual species, larger groups and general evolutionary science and history, and I quite like that the author of each section has been credited. The style is easy to read and requires no prior knowledge - it gives a good overview of life in the past and keeps the science very simple, so won't suit those wanting to get to grips with evolutionary biology. There is a good coverage of vertebrates, less so of invertebrates, and less still of plants. This is maybe to be expected, and is probably an accurate reflection of popularity.
Overall a great quality book, very informative, and good to read or use as a reference.


Vertebrate Palaeontology 4E
Vertebrate Palaeontology 4E
by Michael Benton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £40.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent comprehensive coverage, 12 Nov. 2015
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This book gives a highly comprehensive and detailed coverage of vertebrate evolution. It's clearly aimed mainly at students and a good knowledge of cladistics and anatomy is highly beneficial to gain the most from it. My knowledge of anatomy is not good but I learnt plenty anyway. I was tempted to give four stars because I do have a few small issues but these may be because I have previously read books mainly aimed at a more general audience. Sometimes it did feel a little like it was listing various species and groups rather than giving interesting background information perhaps about some evolutionary principles involved or the scientific methods used in discovering some of the facts. A few times I read something fascinating but was left wondering how it was discovered. It occasionally gave the meanings of the scientific names but I'd like to have seen a lot more of this - it makes things a lot easier to remember and gives better understanding. Illustrations are good and references numerous. Highly recommended for a serious look at vertebrate evolution.


Darwin
Darwin
by Adrian J. Desmond
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive biography, 17 Sept. 2015
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This review is from: Darwin (Hardcover)
This book really is a masterly account of the great man. With huge detail and accuracy it charts his privileged and wealthy background and upbringing, through to his voyage on the Beagle and the development of his evolutionary theories and numerous other research works, as well as detail of his family life. The authors' hugely knowledgeable backgrounds have been ably assisted by the fact that Darwin kept prodigious notes and sent and received vast amounts of letters (14,500 of which still exist).
Darwin's story goes hand in hand with the politics and religious change happening at that time, and there is much detail here too. In fact it is a major thread of the story how he delayed going public with his theories, and when he did, the effect they had on the world as well as his own personal life and health. Darwin was fully aware of the impact his ideas would have - in Victorian times religion, science, politics and economics were all closely interwoven, and he knew he would have a devastating effect on the status quo - in many ways potentially to the detriment to those close to him. He was never comfortable with this burden, but always had a steely confidence in his theories and an awareness of the importance his work would have in the advancement of the scientific understanding of the world.
The book makes liberal use of quotes, and these inspire confidence in the accuracy and thoroughness of the coverage. A highly recommended read and a superb historical account.


Darwin: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Darwin: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Jonathan Howard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Darwinism not Darwin., 8 Nov. 2014
As another reviewer mentioned, this is not a really biography about Darwin, but rather a discussion about his theories and the way he developed them. It is not quite such an easy read as others in this series, but would suit those who are seriously studying evolution.


Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 24
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 24
by Natural History Museum
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.29

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful creative nature photography, 8 Nov. 2014
Another stunning set of photographs. The choice of winners continues to give a strong emphasis on the creative and artistic qualities. Beautiful and thought provoking pictures.


British Wildlife Photography Awards: Collection 5
British Wildlife Photography Awards: Collection 5
by AA Publishing
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, wonderful photographs, 8 Nov. 2014
Another stunning collection of photographs and one which yet again seems to continue the trend of better and better every year. For me there is a wonderful balance of action, behaviour, beauty and humour in the photographs with plenty to have your jaw dropping in wonder. Thoroughly recommended.


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