Birdbooker Report 332

4 August 2014 by GrrlScientist, posted in Birdbooker Report

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts.


“Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin.
Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.)

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.

~ Arnold Lobel [1933-1987] author of many popular children's books.

Compiled by Ian "Birdbooker" Paulsen, the Birdbooker Report is a weekly report that has been published online for years, listing the wide variety of nature, natural history, ecology, animal behaviour, science and history books that have been newly released or republished in North America and in the UK. The books listed here were received by Ian during the previous week, courtesy of various publishing houses.

Featured Title:

  1. del Hoyo, Josep and Nigel J. Collar. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. 2014. Lynx Edicions. Hardbound: 904 pages. Price: $259.00 U.S. Price through end of August 2014: €145 (approx $195 US)
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The first ever Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World is really two works in one. It is a complete checklist whose taxonomy incorporates the most up-to-date information and an exhaustive methodology (Tobias et al. 2010 [in the Ibis]) in an entirely systematic and consistent way. At the same time, it contains illustrations and distribution maps for every bird species in the world. This includes the original artwork from the HBW series, as well as hundreds of new illustrations, all in two compact volumes.
    This book features:

    • 357 color plates
    • 8,290 bird illustrations (including 242 new and 783 improved)
    • 4,428 distribution maps
    • 34 full-page reference maps
    • 2,126 bibliographical references

    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: A MUST have for anyone with a serious interest in birds! This title is a leading contender for the "Best Bird Book of 2014." You can order the book from Lynx Edicions (here), from Buteo Books (here), and from NHBS.com (here).

New and Recent Titles:

  1. Allen, Arthur. The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl: How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis. 2014. W.W.Norton. Hardbound: 384 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S. [Amazon UK/audio download UK; Amazon US/kindle US/Audible audio edition US].
    PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: From a laboratory in wartime Poland comes a fascinating story of anti-Nazi resistance and scientific ingenuity.
    Few diseases are more gruesome than typhus. Transmitted by body lice, it afflicts the dispossessed -- refugees, soldiers, and ghettoized peoples -- causing hallucinations, terrible headaches, boiling fever, and often death. The disease plagued the German army on the Eastern Front and left the Reich desperate for a vaccine. For this they turned to the brilliant and eccentric Polish zoologist Rudolf Weigl.
    In the 1920s, Weigl had created the first typhus vaccine using a method as bold as it was dangerous for its use of living human subjects. The astonishing success of Weigl’s techniques attracted the attention and admiration of the world -- giving him cover during the Nazi’s violent occupation of Lviv. His lab soon flourished as a hotbed of resistance. Weigl hired otherwise doomed mathematicians, writers, doctors, and other thinkers, protecting them from atrocity. The team engaged in a sabotage campaign by sending illegal doses of the vaccine into the Polish ghettos while shipping gallons of the weakened serum to the Wehrmacht.
    Among the scientists saved by Weigl, who was a Christian, was a gifted Jewish immunologist named Ludwik Fleck. Condemned to Buchenwald and pressured to re-create the typhus vaccine under the direction of a sadistic Nazi doctor, Erwin Ding-Schuler, Fleck had to make an awful choice between his scientific ideals or the truth of his conscience. In risking his life to carry out a dramatic subterfuge to vaccinate the camp’s most endangered prisoners, Fleck performed an act of great heroism.
    Drawing on extensive research and interviews with survivors, Arthur Allen tells the harrowing story of two brave scientists -- a Christian and a Jew -- who put their expertise to the best possible use, at the highest personal danger.
    IAN'S RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in the history of science or World War II.

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This is a guest piece written by Ian "Birdbooker" Paulsen. Ian is an avid book collector who is especially well-known to the publishing world. He collects newly-published books about nature, animals and birds, science, and history, and he also collects children's books on these topics. Ian writes brief synopses about these books on his website, The Birdbooker Report.

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