Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Book Review and 2008 list update.

David said i can post it so...
Book Review-
A History of Ornithology by Peter Bircham Published by Collins (New Naturalist) £25
A History of Ornithology sounds like a really boring book, you know the kind, given to you by your grandparents on christmas day and it never sees the light of day again until you sell it on e-bay several years later.
This has without doubt, been the best birding read i have read in ages. By far this book is much more authorative and scientific then other efforts like, A Bird in the Bush ( a social history of birdwatching) by Stephen Moss. And don't be scared by the science in the book though, as it is lucidly written and clearly explained, it doesn't bog down with long winded sentences of explanation and neither does it ramble on about specific ornithologists either, a criticsm you can level about 'A Bird in the Bush' and it's covering of people like Gilbert White. That is not to say 'A History' doesn't focus on specific ornitholigists, because it does, but there is such a wide variety of ornithologists from all over the globe, mostly english, with some americans (notably swainson) and some europeans that this book really gives you a feeling over comprehensiveness.
It also features rather endearing pictures of birds from the birds book past, including field guide illustrations by Bewick, Audubon and Thorbun, portraits of the ornithologists and lots of species photographs by Rebeca Nason.
The text is well laid out and formated although the use of tables and lists is a bit annoying at the start of the book.

I'm trying really hard to think of some criticsm's for this book, but i can't. It is a must read for everyone and it's not paticularly hard to read either. 5***** in my opinion.
Ps: I really like the Robert Gillmour designed cover as well.

Today i managed to get out for a quick walk around the countryside near my home. Highlights include short eared owl, two barn owls, 2 grey partridges and a goldcrest. My list for this year is 25.


Birdnut said...

Got this book and haven't read it yet, your review has certainly promoted it on my waiting list of birding books- just trudgind through the end of Rob Hume's Life with Birds- very good too.

One word of caution about these reviews- worth checking about copyright etc- don't think its OK to give a terrible review of a book without being a proper company- I dunno- just be careful.
Can anyone clarify the book/film review laws etc

On-firecrest said...

Birdnut said...
"Rob Hume's Life with Birds- very good too."
Really? i tried reading that book and gave up after about 50 pages. Is it wistful and nostalgic all the way through?
I wouldn't have thought there were any laws about giving bad reviews what with freedom of speech and all that.

Birdnut said...

RE: Rob Hume: Life with Birds: The first bit was better- I liked the bit about his patch etc but now I want to be interested in it but I have been reading it slowly since August so I'm getting a bit tired of it. I read a paragraph and read it back over again because I was not paying attention to what it was saying and couldn#t remember it.
RE copyright: Yeah, just checking.