51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Not as good as the original,
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This review is from: Mushrooms (Paperback)
For anyone contemplating this book, I'd shell out for a second-hand copy of Phillips' original:
Mushrooms and Other Fungi of Great Britain and Europe (A Pan original) (Or at least buy it in addition.)
The original book is vastly superior for the following reasons:
1. The 'visual key' to the main families. In the original this spans a double-page spread and therefore gives an idea of their appearance and dimensions relative to one another. This is entirely lost in the updated version.
2. The quality of photography. The differences between species can be so subtle, you really need accurate photography to make a judgement. Considering when the original book was first printed (1981) it must have been an enormously expensive undertaking using conventional photography and reprographics. The detail of the original photographs is exquisite, the colours are realistic, and moreover consistent throughout the book.
Some pictures in the updated edition have been re-shot digitally, and all have been compressed to reformat them into the updated (smaller) page size. A big mistake, in my view. Firstly for the loss of fine detail in compression, but also the way that digital photography renders colour compared with film.
The updated book has wide variations in colour rendering throughout. Rather tricky for the novice to compare species photographed using different techniques... I think Phillips should have re-shot all pictures at the new size and for consistency of colourisation, but he didn't.
Editing and referencing in the 'updated' version is sloppy too - some text refers to the wrong picture (and species) entirely. I can see some dangerous mistakes being made using this book. Please no-one rely on it for identification for consumption without cross-referencing the original.
That said, some of the updated material is of interest to the experienced mycologist.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Oct 2012 22:47:23 BDT
Can you give me a couple of examples of the text which refers to the wrong species and genus particularly? I should like to check this out for myself as it is the clearest photographic ID guide that I currently have for fungi. Thanks.
Posted on 25 Oct 2012 23:10:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Oct 2012 23:10:49 BDT
Chris Wood says:
I have the 1981 edition and I agree it is very good. I don't have this later one so cannot comment on how they compare. However, I have only recently become aware that this is not a static subject - names and classifications can change, and indeed have done so since the earlier edition was produced. Specifically in my case I discovered that the Shaggy Parasol (Lepiota rhacodes) has undergone various name changes and has been moved to the Chlorophyllum genus, where it resides with poisonous parasol-like mushrooms. This suggests a more serious view of its toxicity and that of some of its look-alikes. So the issue of outdated information could be important, and should be considered if choosing to go with an old book
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