Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New and Recent Titles

1) Kennedy, Robert S. et al.. A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines. 2000 (reprinted 2010). Oxford University Press. Paperback: 369 pages. Price: $101.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: This is the first and only guide to cover all 572 species of birds known to occur within the 7,100 islands that comprise the Philippines. The Philippines are the home of nearly 172 species that are not found anywhere else in the world-many of which are endangered as the result of high levels of habitat destruction in the Philippine forest. Thus, knowledge and study of the endemic characteristics of the birds of the Philippines are of critical importance.
     This Guide is illustrated with 72 specially painted color plates, showing all species recorded from the Philippines except four rare accidental species. The accompanying text gives detailed information about the plumage, voice, range, distribution, status, habitat, life history, and behavior of the birds and includes helpful distribution maps for all the species highlighted.
     Created by an expert team of authors and artists that includes two prominent Philippine ornithologists, this book combines over 60 years of experience and research. Not only will it appeal to ornithologists and avid birders, but it will enthrall conservationists and all nature lovers.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone with an interest in the birds of the Philippines!


2) McDermott, Paul D. et al.. Eye of the Explorer: Views of the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey, 1853-54. 2010. Mountain Press Publishing Company. Hardbound: 210 pages. Price: $50.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: In the 1850s, Congress authorized and funded five railroad surveys to determine the most practical route for a transcontinental railroad through the western frontier. The northernmost survey, headed by Maj. Isaac Stevens, was the most successful, both scientifically and geographically. Along with the data assembled by numerous scientists and surveyors was the work of two artists, John Mix Stanley and Gustavus Sohon. Their illustrations graphically documented the physical and cultural geography of the northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest, with a particular eye for Native American life. Eye of the Explorer: Views of the Northern Pacific Railroad Survey reproduces all seventy of the lithographs that appeared with Stevens’s final congressional report, published in 1860, as well as twelve of the lovely watercolor images from which the final prints were prepared.
     These views depict landscapes of undisturbed wilderness, scenes from the explorers’ journey, and glimpses of settlements in the initial throes of development. The accompanying text tells the story of the survey party’s adventures, struggles, and day-to-day activities, and describes each image’s historical, geographical, and geological importance. Liberally scattered throughout are quotations from the report. Dozens of detailed maps, illustrations, and historical photos further illuminate this engaging history.
RECOMMENDATION: For anyone interested in the history of the western United States.

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