Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Titles

1) Devenish, Christian et al.(editors). Important Bird Areas Americas: Priority sites for Biodiversity conservation. 2010. Birdlife International. Hardbound: 456 pages. Price: $66.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: This directory provides a concise summary of the 2345 Important Bird Areas described to date in the Americas. The inventory represents a participative consensus on the most important sites for bird and biodiversity conservation in the hemisphere, in what is probably the most comprehensive assessment of its kind to be published. Since the beginning of the IBA program in North America in 1995, sites have now been identified in all 57 countries or territories in the region, totaling more than 3,250,000 km2.
     This book is the culmination of national IBA identification processes involving thousands of people in the Caribbean, North, Central and South America, and at least 150 governmental and non-governmental organizations. The directory is at once a high level awareness-raising publication; a decision-making tool for national and hemispheric biodiversity management and planning; and a portfolio of funding opportunities for potential donors.
RECOMMENDATION: A very useful and well illustrated guide to North and South American bird conservation.

2) Jonaitis, Aldona and Aaron Glass. The Totem Pole: An Intercultural History. 2010. University of Washington Press. Hardbound: 331 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: The Northwest Coast totem pole captivates the imagination. From the first descriptions of these tall carved monuments, totem poles have become central icons of the Northwest Coast region and symbols of its Native inhabitants. Although many of those who gaze at these carvings assume that they are ancient artifacts, the so-called totem pole is a relatively recent artistic development, one that has become immensely important to Northwest Coast people and has simultaneously gained a common place in popular culture from fashion to the funny pages.
     The Totem Pole reconstructs the intercultural history of the art form in its myriad manifestations from the eighteenth century to the present. Aldona Jonaitis and Aaron Glass analyze the totem pole's continual transformation since Europeans first arrived on the scene, investigate its various functions in different contexts, and address the significant influence of colonialism on the proliferation and distribution of carved poles. The authors also describe their theories on the development of the art form: its spread from the Northwest Coast to world's fairs and global theme parks; its integration with the history of tourism and its transformation into a signifier of place; the role of governments, museums, and anthropologists in collecting and restoring poles; and the part that these carvings have continuously played in Native struggles for control of their cultures and their lands.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone interested in Native American art.

  3) Ryan, Michael J., Brenda J. Chinnery-Allgeier, and David A. Eberth (editors). New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs. 2010. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 624 pages. Price: $110.00 U.S.

SUMMARY: Easily distinguished by the horns and frills on their skulls, ceratopsids were one of the most successful of all dinosaurs. This volume presents a broad range of cutting-edge research on the functional biology, behavior, systematics, paleoecology, and paleogeography of the horned dinosaurs, and includes descriptions of newly identified species. This title includes 310 black-and-white illustrations and a supplemental CD-ROM.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with a technical interest in ceratopsids.

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