- Hardcover: 655 pages
- Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr (15 April 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226721175
- ISBN-13: 978-0226721170
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 4.8 x 26.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 2.3 Kg
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Book of Fungi: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World Hardcover – 15 Apr 2011
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About the Author
Peter Roberts was for fourteen years a senior mycologist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He has undertaken field trips throughout the British Isles and Europe, as well as North, Central, and South America, the Caribbean, and Africa, and has published extensively on temperate and tropical fungi. He is the coauthor of New Naturalist: Fungi and is on the editorial boards of the journals Field Mycology, Mycological Progress, Czech Mycology, and Persoonia. Shelley Evans was conservation officer for the British Mycological Society for ten years and is on the executive committee of the European Council for the Conservation of Fungi and the IUCN world specialist group for fungi. She is coauthor of Pocket Nature: Fungi and is on the editorial board of the journal Field Mycology. She is an experienced field mycologist, having undertaken field trips throughout the British Isles and Europe, as well as North America.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
They have chosen to make this a "popular" book rather than a reference text. Thus the individual species are discussed on visible characters with no mention of microscopic details. So the book is not an identification guide. They have given each organism the currently valid scientific name but, alas, no idex of former scientific names and synonymy. Thus if you were trying to find Gymnopilus spectabilis (Big Laughing Jim in the U.S.) you wouldn't as the new name now is Gymnopolis junonius with a common name in England of Spectacular Rust Gill. The common names used in the book are said to be names in usage in England but are not the common names used in America. Witches' Butter in England is listed as Exidia glandulosa whereas in the U.S. it refers to Tremella mesenterica. The authors call this species Yellow Witches' Butter but in America that name refers to Tremella lutescens. Confusion abounds! In my nearly sixty years of leading professional and amateur groups on Fleshy Fungi Forays in fields, woods and grocery stores I've always discouraged my audience from using common names for just that reason.
This book is a welcome addition to my fungal library and is highly recomended for anyone interested in the world of the Fungi. A better index would have greatly helped and those common names are useless.
Take a look at the "Look Inside!" Amazon feature and that will tell you most of what you need to know. There are about 30 pages of introductory material, including a four page "Guide to the Fungi" that gives some information useful for identification, and some end matter including a few pages on classification, as well as indexes by common name and scientific name.
The rest of the book (600+ pages) consists of one page per species as you can see in the sample pages.
It's a heavy, beautifully bound book of the highest quality, one which is is very pleasant to simply browse through while wondering at nature's variety. For this alone I can highly recommend it as an object which is satisfying to possess.
It is however important to note a few things. This is not an "edible mushroom book", nor is it really a guide to identifying and differentiating various species. It really is mostly a visual catalog of 600 or so fungal species with pictures and interesting information about each. Also as the authors note, the book only covers around 1% of the known species.
Each species descriptions includes a "Similar species" section, however there are no page-number cross references when the mentioned species are included in the book, so you have to look each one up by scientific name in the index to see if it is included. Descriptions include associations, and a list of species categorized by association could have been a nice feature. I would have liked to see more useful/practical information like this added beyond the very basic overviews included.
One feature of the book is that many of the photographs are scaled to reflect the actual size of the specimens shown, which seems useful as some are much larger or smaller than one might expect.
Any fan of mushrooms will want to own this book, along with people interested in the variety of life on our planet, biologists interested in fungi, etc.