146 of 151 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2005
I'm working through an earlier edition of this book (because it was used and cheap) and am very impressed by it. There are a lot of excellent introductory science textbooks, but what distinguishes this one in my mind is the author's relentless effort to deepen his explanations. You don't just learn that some reaction occurs in the cell. You learn why it occurs, what its antecedents are, what their antecedents are, how feedback reactions in the cell stimulate or inhibit the reaction, and what the mechanisms of action are. At each point where the reader may be thinking, "That's interesting, but why does that happen?", all he need do is read on and very likely find that Campbell will ask, and answer, his question.
Explanation must always come to a stop. But Campbell pushes his explanations out to the frontiers of our knowledge. His explanations stop not where he thinks the student is too unsophisticated to continue, but where either there is no more known, or where it would be impossible to say more and still cover the whole subject of biology in one book.
This approach shows great respect for the student. It treats the student as an intelligent person who is interested, motivated, and able to learn. It is the standard approach for more advanced texts, but it's not always found in introductory books. It's a considerable achievement to be able to write about a highly technical subject this deeply and this thoroughly, and still put it in terms that the beginning student can understand.
The book is also very well produced. There are excellent illustrations, a useful glossary, an index, and many photo-micrographs. Even in the illustrations, Campbell treats the reader as a serious student - providing thorough explanations and labeling each microscope photo to indicate how it was made (light, scanning electrons, transmissive electrons). I can't say what's on the CD ROM because I haven't seen it. But if it's as good as the rest of the visual material, it will be very good indeed.
I heartily recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn the science of Biology.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2004
I loved this textbook. Imagine that, the words "love" and "textbook" in the same sentence. This is my first college Biology text so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I feel I did very well in my class not only because I love biology, but because this textbook explained everything in such an interesting and lucid way. The pictures and diagrams are wonderful and incredibly helpful. To give a random example, the chapters on cell mitosis and meiosis. This can be a potentially difficult subject if you're expected to memorize the various stages, and what the chromosomes are doing and when, but this book gives very helpful and colorful diagrams and light micrographs of each stage. The authors really understand the importance of visual learning in conjunction with reading.
Speaking of the authors, I was pleasantly surprised that the writing had a hint of personality, and didn't have the dreaded "textbook dry" monotone. It didn't feel as if robots wrote the book, as in some textbooks. I noticed they reinforced important core concepts throughout to drum it into the students head, like the the connection between "form and function", or how the size and shape of, for example an enzyme, is really it's most important characteristic.
I bought this book new and it came with a cd-rom, that for me, put my grades over the top. I'm not sure I would have done as well without this cd. In it are all sorts of quizzes and tests, a complete on-line version of the book, various links to helpful internet sites, and which I used the most, animations and voice commentary of each chapter. Many people are visual learners, and sometimes they get a much deeper understand of something when they see it in action.
I will not be selling this textbook back to the college after I'm done with it, this is a keeper. I have no complaints about it.
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
I love the Biology book by Campbell and Reece subtitled 'Concepts & Connections', so I thought I would check out this edition also. I first studied biology nearly twenty-five years ago with a huge and lovely biology book written by an author whose name unfortunately escapes me. I loved that book, and have always judged future biology texts against that one; this one measures up well against my memory of that text.
After an interesting introduction, which talks about discovery-based science in addition to theoretical/hypothesis science with interesting examples. The introduction, 'Exploring Life', leads right into the first unit, which deals with the basic chemistry needed to understand the processes of life. Water, Carbon and molecular chemistry at a basic level are explained, as these are the building-blocks of life on earth from a chemical standpoint.
The book continues on an upward progression from here. The next unit is on the cell, introducing both single-celled organisms as well as how cells work in both plants and animals. Photosynthesis is explained in good detail. The unit following deals with genetics, a very 'in the news' area of biology today. This looks at genetics in plants (the early experiments of Mendel are explained here), animals, bacteria and viruses, as well as the more complex structures of DNA.
The unit on evolution looks both at plant and animal evolution, as well as the way evolutionary ideas can influence the way species develop in the modern, changing world. The subsequent units look at biological diversity, the plant kingdom, and the animal kingdom. The final unit on ecology brings all things together in one eco-system in which plants, animals and environment influence each other and co-exist.
In this book, each chapter focuses on only a few key concepts. There are features such as Concept Head and Concept Check to keep the student focused upon real-life examples. Headers reinforce the broader topics while modules give key concepts within each broad topic. Diagrams are arranged with numbered steps to help understanding, and there are frequent references to website additions. Key questions are asked at each conceptual point. Exploring Figures bring things back to the big-picture view. There are a number of supplements designed to help the student and instructor engage the material more fully. I particularly liked the interviews with scientists and researchers, which puts a more human face to the elements of the book. The book is very colourful, both in text copy and in pictures.
This is a very good book, with lots of information - it is also a flexible book, and certain portions can be omitted in a syllabus without diminishing the overall text. Like the other book by Campbell and Reece, with this book I also find myself constantly glancing through the chapters and reading the interesting essays and connection modules between my tutoring appointments. That's the mark of a good textbook.
60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Campbell's Biology has been the standard biology text for majors for many years. Though there are many good competitors, this is the one that consistently seems to rise to the top.
The breadth of coverage is good overall, with particular strengths in cell, molecular, and physiology sections of the text. It's the one we chose to use in our year-long intro to biology majors course.
Not everything is roses, however. For one thing, compared to other sections of the text the section on animal diversity is brief (perhaps unavoidably so)...after all, no book can be all things to all people. The section on ecology is also a bit light compared to other sections of the text. That's not surprising, since many intro courses these days don't touch much on ecology...more's the pitty.
The two biggest challenges associated with this book are it's mass, and massive price tag (not unique among textbooks today). I have a difficult time sitting in a reading chair and getting into a comfortable position with this block of paper on my lap or in my hands. It is, as mentioned in at least one other review, just too heavy. The other challenge is the cost. That's an issue with many textbooks today. They are just so expensive that you almost need to take out a loan just to get your books.
Is there a way to get this book in an e-version, so I could load it onto a notebook computer? At least that way the book would be in a computer that would probably weigh less...
There are pros and cons. The pros seem to outweigh the cons for the moment.
One concern I have for the future of this text is that Campbell, the senior author, passed away recently. We'll have to wait and see if subsequent editions are able to maintain the scope and quality of coverage that this and previous editions were able to manage.
5 stars for quality, minus one for weight and cost. 4 stars.
Alan Holyoak (Biol Prof)
50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2006
Unless your professor requires that you use this edition (which they shouldn't), buy the 6th edition, which is cheaper. The only difference between the two is slight text changes and rearrangements of the chapters. It's not worth your money unless you are drawn to this edition (trust me, you're not). Oh, and the study guides aren't worth it if you actually go to class and read the text.
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2005
The Campbell Biology texts have always been the premier general bio science text, and the 7th edition sets a new standard. Improvements over previous editions include an excellent prep section for the AP Bio test, new organization, much better graphics and pictures, and an absolutely incredible CD resource. Any interest in biology at any level demands this book. Highly recommended.
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2005
My school UC Davis uses this book and gosh, the book is perfect after all in explaining the principles and concepts of biology. We only covered first 20 chapters in one quarter but by looking at how the book is outlined and written, I can see that the rest of the book will be great. I did not stumble much in reading and figures makes the subject much easier to digest. Oh, the CD that came with book is soooo helpful for the midterms. Not only does it check your reading, but also it quizzes your thinking process involved with the chapter concept.
The only drawback i see is that the book can be heavy and expensive. Other than that, all the biology books I have ever read so far, this is simply the BEST...
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2004
Okay, maybe this is not light summer reading, but it is a fascinating overview of the subject of biology. The book is very logically organized, moving from the atomic level to the macrobiological level of ecology. I read this book last summer because I really wanted to refresh my knowledge of biology, a subject I studied in college in the mid 1970s. I now feel that I have a much greater appreciation of the intricacy and depth of life, in all its many fascets.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2002
I used this book this past summer in order to place out of College Bio I and II through a CLEP exam. Through independent study from this book and its companion CD I was able to place out in the 97th Percentile.
There is a reason why this book is still continued to be used today in classrooms as it is on its sixth edition. The authors use of layout in the book is well thought out and organized. His vast use of pictures, graphs, and tables streamline with the text of the book. In addition, the companion CD and web site provide the reader with an even greater study guide-- using interactive flash programs and video to further explain biological processes.
Further, in addition to the basic Biology taught in classrooms, this book goes one step further and explains some advancing fields in the Biology Profession. For example, chapter 20 covers the use of computers in analyzing biological data and gives prime examples from the current Human Genome Project. Further, every section of this book covers an interview with a specific individual in that profession. Such, if one is not aware of what exact field one wish's to pursue, interviews that cover some of the daily activities of these individuals are provided.
I would recommend this book for anyone who is seriously interested in Biology.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2006
This book is definitely not a "bit of light reading for your spare time", but it is very difficult to find a biological concept that they do not cover in this book. This is the book we use in AP Bio. What makes it difficult is the fact that there is so much chemistry, but that is by nature of the fact that you take chemistry the year after bio, not anything that has to do with the book. This book makes biology fun and interesting. It has detailed explainations of things and gives clear, colorful diagrams that are very useful. You could use this book as a biology encyclopedia or use it to teach yourself any topic pertaining to bio. I would really recommend at LEAST a year of high school chemistry before taking this class if you don't want to stress yourself out trying to learn the chemical topics they present to you. Not that they don't do a good job, it can just be too much though.