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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I love this Biology book. 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.
The fourth edition of `Biology: Concepts & Connections' is an excellent, thorough introduction to the science of biology. It is used at the community college where I tutor (biology and other sciences) for general education and nursing students. The book is divided into seven major sections: The Life of a Cell; Cellular Reproduction and Genetics; Concepts of Evolution; Biological Diversity; Animals; Plants; and finally, general Ecology.
After an interesting introduction, which talks about discovery-based science in addition to theoretical/hypothesis science with interesting examples (the Australian Flying Fox, flies that mimic spiders), the first unit on the Life of the Cell looks at basic structure and chemistry of cells. Even though this text deals with chemistry, a chemistry background is not required. Care is taken from the outset to relate the biology tasks to `everyday life', things that people know and care about - there is a look at athletic performance with slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscles, light in the lives of plants, and even look at the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
The unit on Cellular Reproduction and Genetics introduces a hot topic in general conversation today, including discussions of medicine and law in addition to the basic theory, with some of the latest information included. The units on Concepts of Evolution and Biological Diversity include new features such as discussion on mitochondrial DNA comparison and the use of molecular clocks to date divergence in evolutionary paths. Topics such as increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics are discussed, and the interesting evolutionary situation of Australia, separated from the major landmasses of the rest of the world, shows an interesting side-show on biological diversity.
The unit on Animals will be the most interesting for many, and the diversity here includes discussions from geckos to bears to human traits shared with and different from other animals. Particularly for our nursing students, the sections on respiration (anaerobic and aerobic), broken bones, immune systems, blood-cell diseases and the like really drive home the need for a basic understanding of biology.
The units on Plants and Ecology draw in the larger mass of living things sharing our planet, work to show how the environment operates from the standpoint of individual plants to entire ecosystems. Interesting current topics such as organic farming, population ecology, endangered species and global warming drive home the importance of biology.
The book is very colourful, both in text copy and in pictures. 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 and CD-ROM additions. Key questions are asked at each conceptual point. The `behind the scenes' information helps reinforce the concepts both with the hot topics involved in biological issues today, as well as the personalities driving the science in key areas. Each chapter has a summary of key points, concept questions and multiple-choice questions for test preparation. There are well over 100 `Connection' Modules and `Talking about Science' Modules. Each of the 38 chapters has an interesting, inviting essay as introduction. There are probably 200 CD-ROM and website activities to engage the students, everything from the cloning of genes in bacteria to steroid hormone action to the Honeybee waggle dance.
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. I 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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2005
This new Fifth Edition of an old standby. The book retains it's aim of engaging students from a wide variety of majors in the wonders of the living world. It relates the basic concepts of biology to concepts in every day life, to evolution, and to the process of science.

The basic upgrades in this edition include:

Greater emphasis on cells as the structural and functional units of life.

Incorporates recent advances in the field of cellular reproduction, genetics and cloning.

the concepts of evolution have been extensively reorganized and updated. This includes a major upgrading in the area of the evolution of biological diversity.

the sections on animals and plants has been redone with a greater emphasis on those forms that the student sees in their everyday life.

the ecology area has been updted with current ecological data and fresh photos.

The text has been extensively reviewed to ensure that the new edition retains the reputation for accuracy that has become a hallmark of this book.
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2008
I was assigned the 6th edition of this book at Palomar, and since that one cost $100 i figured i'd buy the previous 5th edition (for $10! woo!)

I compared both editions (borrowed a friend's 6th ed), and the book is basically the same. Except some of the pictures are a little different, and the sentence structure is different in some sections (but contains the same ideas in the same order)

Save yourself some money, just buy the previous editions for all your textbooks. Don't fall into the scam that is higher education. Ever notice how they assign books that your school's teachers wrote too? Such a big scam!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2000
This is a college biology textbook intended for use by introductory-level non-majors and mixed-majors college biology students. It was not intended for use by high school freshman introductory biology classes, and should not be used for that purpose. I am using it for my H.S. junior/senior level Biology II classes. I and my students love this book! Each well-illustrated and well-organized section begins with a clear and succinctly-worded concept statement that drives home the most important idea in the section. There is an outstanding amount of superb ancillary material available for use by both instructors and students -- including a CD-ROM interactive study guide, a printed study guide that complements the CD (but is not redundant with it,) two differently-focused course-companion web sites, an instructor's guide to web-based research activities, really great lab activities, and all sorts of other good stuff. The student reviewer from Troy, NY is right about the test questions, though. Most of them would be a challenge even for very sharp college biology students. But even so, I enthusiastically recommend this book for any advanced-level high school or introductory college-level biology program!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2005
Biology Concepts and Connections, is an excellent text on life science. This book presents information in a clear and logical way. At the end of each section, there is a question box, which allows the reader to check their understanding of the information presented. It is also very helpful that answers are included for all the questions in the book. The book is broken into thirty-eight sections, which cover a wide variety of topics, such as cell biology, evolution, plant biology/botany, animal anatomy/life function, and much more. The CD-Rom which comes with this book is great for reviewing the material presented. I used this book in my honor's biology class and received an A. I highly recommend this text to anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of life science!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2010
This book explains everything from cells to animals. I used this book for two different classes. The first half of the book deals with the cell, osmosis, mitosis, and common information learned in high school. The second part of the book deals with animal development over time. Animal actions, time periods, and animal behavior are all analyzed in this book.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2010
This text is not impressive. The book is light on information but heavy on redundant (and often bad) analogies. The layout is fine, but the writing uses superfluous examples that are irrelevant to the understanding of biological concepts. Moreover, the authors routinely begin sentences with "And" and use incomplete sentence structures, which can be very distracting during reading.

I'm terribly unimpressed; I wish my biology class used a better edited text because this one is not well written.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
I am using this book for a self study of Biology in the hopes of passing the CLEP exam and waiving out of an intro level college bio class. So far I have been very impressed. I am going slowly because I really want to learn the material. It is not easy material but I like the way the book is organized. The best part, in my opinion, is the web features. I can go in and quiz and test myself on each chapter. Also there are activities that make it more fun and interactive. For example, clicking on the different parts of a cell, etc. There are also little animations you can watch that really help you "get it" more than you can from just reading the words. So far so good!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2007
This is a fabulous textbook. The descriptions are clear and there is always a picture following in case you are a visual learner. The greatest thing about this book is that it provides so many ways to study. The book has a website and a CD rom, where you can read the book, do very helpful activities, hear MP3 tutor sessions with the author and more. If you don't understand something, there are so many ways to study it, that it won't take long before you will.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2005
I own the International Edition of this book, ISBN 0-321-10679-2.

I would NOT recommend this book to secondary school students, unless they were of exceptional ability, and nor would I suggest it for students seeking very detailed explanations of any particular topic.

Rather, I found this book (apart from being the set text for one of my papers) to be very good at presenting a good overview of the many areas encompassed by the term 'Biology.' The "Concepts and Connections" theme is really very good, providing insights into real life scenarios. Excellent graphics and superb photographs help to give life and depth to the subject matter.

Initial preparatory sections on chemistry for biologists proved very helpful, with indispensible glossary and thorough index at the back.

If you're studying Diploma level Biology, or a more general undergraduate Biology paper, then this book could be for you.
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