Top critical review
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Not an introduction but more a refresher
on 7 March 2014
This book fails not in content but in the presentation and style it is written in. What I think makes most of the VSI books great is that it is easy for a layman in the field to pick them up and get a good broad understanding of the subject area and have an enjoyable read.
Where this book goes wrong is:
- Over use of explanations or latin names in parenthesis. There is barely a sentence in this book that doesn't have detail text in parenthesis some sentences barely get a single word between a closing and opening parenthesis. The information in these does little for non-experts in the fields and actually detracts from the information.
- Too much jargon. I know that botanists have their special jargon like every field but there is a balancing point in how much of this can be presented in an introductory text. Especially where small nuances in latin pre or suffixes are sometimes the only thing that differentiates a substantially different family of plants.
- The book goes into way too much detail explaining details about a particular type of plants (e.g. the algae) without little context or comparison with the rest. Basically there are too many enumeration of attributes and characteristics that are really not that interesting in the broader picture
- The author fails in addressing and explaining the truly interesting facts that he puts forward. As an example I found it fascinating that brown algae is not a plant but an animal. But the author never explains this beyond stating it as a fact. Why? I have to look elsewhere to answer this question
I think the biggest flaw in this book is that it lacks a central storyline from start to finish. In an introduction such as this the reader needs to be taken on a guided tour of the subject area.
Sadly I cannot recommend this book.