Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New Titles

1) Lever, Christopher. The Mandarin Duck. 2013. T & A D Poyser. Hardbound: 192 pages. Price: $80.00 U.S./£50.00.
SUMMARY: The Mandarin Duck is a small and (in the case of the males) spectacularly colourful species of waterfowl. Widely kept in aviaries around the world, populations often escaped to form wild colonies. One of the largest and best-studied is in southern England. Although declining and nowadays surprisingly hard to find, Britain's wild Mandarin population is probably more numerous than that of the duck's true home, China and the Russian Far East, where it is now endangered.
      This Poyser monograph is a detailed account of this beautiful duck's lifestyle and biology, with particular emphasis on invasive populations in Britain and overseas. It is a superb addition to the long-running and acclaimed Poyser series.
RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for those with an interest in the species.

2) Prothero, Donald R.. Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future. 2013. Indiana University Press. Hardbound: 371 pages. Price: $35.00 U.S.
SUMMARY: The battles over evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, and the causes of AIDS, alternative medicine, oil shortages, population growth, and the place of science in our country—all are reaching a fevered pitch. Many people and institutions have exerted enormous efforts to misrepresent or flatly deny demonstrable scientific reality to protect their nonscientific ideology, their power, or their bottom line. To shed light on this darkness, Donald R. Prothero explains the scientific process and why society has come to rely on science not only to provide a better life but also to reach verifiable truths no other method can obtain. He describes how major scientific ideas that are accepted by the entire scientific community (evolution, anthropogenic global warming, vaccination, the HIV cause of AIDS, and others) have been attacked with totally unscientific arguments and methods. Prothero argues that science deniers pose a serious threat to society, as their attempts to subvert the truth have resulted in widespread scientific ignorance, increased risk of global catastrophes, and deaths due to the spread of diseases that could have been prevented.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in science education (or lack thereof).

3) Suzuki, Mamoru. Birds' Nests of the World. 2001 (English edition: 2013). Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. Hardbound: 73 pages. Price: $29.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: Mr. Mamoru Suzuki was born in Tokyo in 1952. He attended Tokyo College of the Arts, and is a professional artist and keen student of the birds of the world. Mr. Suzuki is a renowned author and illustrator for multiple Japanese artistic books on nature, including The Book of Birds’ Nests; Nest Poems: A collection of poems and illustrations; and the Black Cat Sangoro series.He has published essays about his own collection of birds’ nests, and has exhibited both his artwork and his nests in cities all over the world.
       In the 1990s, Mr. Suzuki began visiting the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ), a non-profit natural history museum in southern California, to draw and paint bird egg and nest materials in the collections.Mr. Suzuki’s artistic books on birds caught the attention of the Staff of the WFVZ, and in 2010, Dr. Linnea Hall (Director of the WFVZ) and Mr. René Corado (Collections Manager) discussed the possibility of translating Mamoru’s 2001 book -- “Birds’ Nests of the World”—from Japanese into English, and the current project was born.
      The book contains breeding information for hundreds of birds of the world, depicted creatively and scientifically.It will serve as a wonderful family learning book, as well as a scientific reference for ornithologists and bird watchers who want to learn more about the nesting and breeding habits of the birds of the world.
RECOMMENDATION: A well illustrated introduction to bird nesting behavior. The book is available here: http://www.wfvz.org/cms/index.php?option=com_oscommerce&osMod=product_info&Itemid=59&catID=41&products_id=164

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