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3.9 out of 5 stars
Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life (Available Titles CengageNOW)
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2005
This is the book I had in my college biology course. I find this book to be quite inconsistent. While it has it's bright spots and explains some things very well, it is one of those books where you end up having to hunt for the information. Result? You spend a great deal of time deciphering the book which has the information strewn everywhere in a fashion that's not entirely organized. Not to mention the fact that it stops dead cold in the middle of explaining a concept in order to go into great detail about another related concept. Then suddenly it jolts the reader back to what it was talking about beforehand. A good and elementary example of this is in chapter 2 where they discuss hydrogen bonding. It veers off and on from what the topic is supposed to be. It would be more helpful to cut to the chase and leave the lengthly prose out of the book. As another reviewer pointed out, the fact that the book has so many different authors is just ASKING for the final product to be inconsistent. This book is not worth the 120 dollars they expect you to pay for it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 1999
The 8th edition of Cecie Starr and Ralph Taggart's BIOLOGY: THE UNITY AND DIVERSITY OF LIFE is a significant improvement over the already excellent 7th edition. It is a substantial reference made "user friendly" with its excellent graphic designs, well organized and readable text, and extensive electronic support...
I found the tutorial quizzes and chapter summaries especially useful. The online support and CD-ROM are effective new study tools! I recommend this book to all students taking a course in introductory college biology, as well as biology instructors looking for a well supported book that actively engages their students.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2000
This is a fantastic text for homeschooling. Each concept is introduced, discussed, and wrapped up in a 2-page spread. This is *not* the dry bio text you remember from high school. It is fascinating enough that I find myself stealing it from my daughter's room. Perfect for a science-loving homeschooler who is hungry for advanced texts at an earlier age because the setup is conducive to parental participation and discussion. However, be advised it is written from an evolutionary point of view if you are inclined to avoid this emphais. And of course there's that really cool picture of the monkey fighting the cheetah ;)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 1999
This is a really wonderful textbook to have read before coming to university. The background I gained was of great help during my first year of college bio where we use the textbook LIFE. I would suggest getting the study guide, as it is a great complement to the text. The intros to the chapters were a little overly dramatic, but everything else was fantastic
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2012
This college level book gives a short introduction into biological concepts.
I feel that it is sometimes hard to understand for undergraduate students and not always coherently written. Also I found several mistakes in the 13th edition. For this price the book should have been properly reviewed.

# On page 105 water is listed as one of the reactants in the light-independent reaction. Other common college textbooks describe this differently. Water plays a major role in the light dependent reaction. Whereas the light-independent reaction takes place in the aquatic environment inside the cell it was never explained IF and where water is added to this reaction, nor could was it explained in the following text or diagrams.

# Table 13.1 states that the recessive traits in pea plants are round, yellow seed, purple flowers, tall stems. According to Mendel's original publication this are the dominant traits. It seems that the heading of the table got mixed up. The 12th edition showed it correctly.

# Table 24.1 states that Platyhelminthes have two tissue layers. I was under the impression that they actually have 3 germ layers (ectoderm,endoderm, and mesoderm). In the text body it is actually described correctly.

I think this book needs a major overhaul.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2014
Over all the textbook is lacking clarity. Full of amorphous terms that the writer made up if you read (review) other biology textbooks they are a lot clearer in communicating scientific theories and laws. The writer has the hard of a time making it out of the minutiae. The book gets stuck in uninteresting trivia, or worse makes up things to makes concepts a lot harder to understand. Whereas to be just adding uncommunicative minutiae maybe the writer is getting paid by the word this just overall such a horrible textbook. Too many ambiguous explanations no clarity on subject material text book tries too hard to make this extremely complicated. Please for the sake of education choose one of the many better other textbooks out there, that are so much better for teaching biology; your students and you will thank full.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2013
Great textbook, helps a lot with lectures and has in depth analysis. I bought the older book after comparing the two and finding no significant differences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2013
Pictures and text clear and bright. Easy to find topics and highlight text. Just like the actual textbook version but not as heavy.
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on February 21, 2015
This book may be fine for an 18-19 year old kid who just had high school biology a couple of years ago, but for those of us who haven't had a science class in 10+ years it's borderline useless. Each chapter opens as if it is aimed at a grade school level audience, only to switch gears after four pages and diving into complex descriptions of chemical reactions, yet failing completely to explain or define many important points.
A fine example of this shortcoming can be seen in chapter 6 which deals with photosynthisis. The reader is introduced to NADP+ and NADPH, yet there is no definition of of what either are and it's not very clear as to what exactly they do. A simple web search, however, results in a succinct answer to both what they are and what they do.
I feel that for the price of this book (your first born child, plus an arm and a leg) that it should be more thorough and clear in its explanations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
We didn't order this for a class, but for self-study and found it to be a nice resource for the price.
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