Monday, June 7, 2010

New and Recent Titles

1) Latta, Steven et al. Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 2006. Princeton University Press. Paperback: 258 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti fills a large void in the literature on birdwatching and the environment in these tropical countries. The first comprehensive field guide devoted to Hispaniola's birds, it provides detailed accounts for more than 300 species, including thirty-one endemic species. Included in the species descriptions are details on key field marks, similar species, voice, habitats, geographic distribution on Hispaniola, status, nesting, range, and local names used in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The authors also comment on ecology, behavior, and taxonomic status. The book provides color illustrations and range maps based on the most recent data available. But the authors' intent is to provide more than just a means of identifying birds. The guide also underscores the importance of promoting the conservation of migratory and resident birds, and building support for environmental measures. Information about an Iphone app can be found here:
The Spanish version is available through Buteo Books:
RECOMMENDATION: For birders with an interest in neotropical birds.

2) Voss, Julia. Darwin's Pictures: Views of Evolutionary Theory, 1837-1874. 2010. Yale University Press. Hardbound: 340 pages. Price: $45.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: In this first-ever examination of Charles Darwin’s sketches, drawings, and illustrations, Julia Voss presents the history of evolutionary theory told in pictures. Darwin had a life-long interest in pictorial representations of nature, sketching out his evolutionary theory and related ideas for over forty years. Voss details the pictorial history of Darwin’s theory of evolution, starting with his notebook sketches of 1837 and ending with the illustrations in The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). These images were profoundly significant for Darwin’s long-term argument for evolutionary theory; each characterizes a different aspect of his relationship with the visual information and constitutes what can be called an “icon” of evolution. Voss shows how Darwin “thought with his eyes” and how his pictorial representations and the development and popularization of the theory of evolution were vitally interconnected.Voss explores four of Darwin’s images in depth, and weaves about them a story on the development and presentation of Darwin’s theory, in which she also addresses the history of Victorian illustration, the role of images in science, the technologies of production, and the relationship between specimen, words, and images.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of evolution.

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