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on 5 December 2005
This is a very useful book which is on the bookshelves of most entomologists and field centres. As a general tool to identify insects to family and genus level it is ideal and widely respected. It is also a great introduction to the different groups of insects and to insects in general.
Bear in mind that it is unrealistic to expect ANY volume to cover all species of insects, simply because there are far too many - literally hundreds of thousands in fact! For example, there are well over 3,000 moths alone in the UK, so people wanting to specialise in a particular insect order will need a specialised identification guide.
The 'Western Europe' book by the same author (out of print at the time of writing this) is also good and possibly slightly better for identifying species in the field, according to some. However, with that book, when you think you've got the exact species the text often says 'one of a dozen similar species'.
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on 20 May 2009
I bought this to replace my copy of Insects of Britain and Western Europe (also a Collins Guide by Michael Chinery) after I lost the original.

What a huge dissappointment. The images are so small by comparison. In the Western Europe verion the images are much larger and overlap, which is fine. The images in that version are also intergrated with the text throughout the book, which I prefer. In this version the images are on plates in the middle of the book, and they are all much smaller with loads white space around them. The (solitary) dragonfly page is worst for this. The print quality of the images also seems slightly fuzzy and out of focus. I checked my copy against one I found in a bookshop and they are all like this.

It's only redeeming feature is a slightly more comprehensive catepillar section but all in all it doesn't come close to the Britain and Western Europe vesion.
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on 6 July 2000
If you want a quick reference guide to just about any insect you're likely to encounter in Northern Europe, then this is the one. Unlike some other field guides (and we've tried a few) the highly detailed illustrations in this book enable you identify insects very quickly.
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on 7 July 2004
If you live in the south of France I think that buying a book titled "Field Guide to the Insects of Britain and Northern Europe" isn't really reason enough to criticise the book. It's the fault of the purchaser.
Admittedly the butterfly section is a bit wanting, but again, if you are after a book on butterflies then buy a specialist book not a general guide. I think this book is wonderful and I carry it out on walks a lot as the colour plates a very good for indentification purposes. As I say in the title it is a great beginners book.
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on 20 December 2009
It is very helpfull as it will allow you to visualize the specimens. Taxonomy books usually don't have that many or that good of illustrations. As it is a field guide it is expectable that it will be lacking in something, it is just another helpfull resource. However, I would think that it should have more information for the identification of the specimens, besides the pictures of course.
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on 25 February 2012
If you, like me, are fascinated by the creatures which buzz round your garden or catch your attention whilst out walking then this is the MUST HAVE book. Skip, like most of us do, to the colour plates & you'll be finding first the 'what' of so many different insects and then given the opportunity to learn a little more. I have ceased swatting wasps largely as a consequence of owning a copy. Informative & very well illustrated it is not one you'd want to carry around for long - it is a field guide rather than a pocket guide. It will repay your interest handsomely & foster it further.
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on 11 January 2001
As a novice I needed more illustrations.It did not offer me the help I needed.Quite abysmal.A far better book is by the same author"Insects of Britain and Western Europe" It is a pocket guide by the same publisher and the same price
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on 25 June 2014
If anyone has studied biodiversity of all life on our planet, then you will appreciate the dedication and near obsession one has to have to compile and produce a book of this nature, literally.

Well done Michael Chinery, the world salutes you.
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on 6 November 2016
This well researched and illustrated book ,is a welcome addition to my reference library , and whilst not the definitive volume on this topic has nevertheless proved very useful in identifying various specimens I have encountered.
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on 25 January 2014
Excellent in giving a broad through of entomology and field identification.

exemplary photo- plates, also have the new addition which doesn't compare!
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