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Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizensof the Dee Paperback – October 27, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cryptozoology, as the name implies, is the scientific classification and study of creatures that may or may not exist-a discipline frequently relegated to the margins of the scientific establishment. So Coleman and Huyghe's decision to write about the Loch Ness Monster ("Nessie"), Giant Beavers and Mystery Mantas hardly seems like an ideal step in the journey towards academic legitimacy. Nonetheless, the rare victory that comes with the "official" recognition of a once-dubious aquatic creature (a giant squid, say, or a megamouth shark) has emboldened the authors to attempt the definitive guide to the elusive "mystery creatures" that might populate over two-thirds of the planet's surface. Unfortunately, the authors' focus is primarily taxonomic rather than narrative or expository, which makes for a disappointingly dull read. Plodding through a detailed animal-classification system quickly becomes a bit, er, dry, so readers looking for lively nature stories would be wise to avoid this particular volume, as the quasi-mythological nature of its subject does little to spice things up. Even such unlikely beasts as Great Sea Centipedes or Waterhorses (of which Nessie may be the most well-known example) are handled primarily in such clinical terms as size, range and likely habitat, supplemented with brief and surprisingly dreary "descriptive incidents" and eyewitness accounts. Heavy on methodology and light on the mystery and excitement of the best nature writing, this book may spark in readers the sense that the authors were more worried about the criticism of their peers than about the drowsiness of their readers. Illustrations.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

The author of the cult classic Mysterious America, Loren Coleman has been both on- and off-camera consultant to NBC's Unsolved Mysteries, A & E's Ancient Mysteries, The History Channel's In Search of History, Discovery Channel's In the Unknown, and In Search Of... to appear on the on Fox and the USA Network.

Patrick Huyghe has been contributing editor to Science Digest and Omni. He is the author of numerous books and has produced public television documentaries.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (October 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585422525
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585422524
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #636,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L Edelen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Coleman & Huyghe's "The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep" is an attempt to develop a classification system for cryptic and relict water "monsters." Coleman, a prolific writer in the realm of cryptozoology. takes some of his previous, less focused works on mystery creatures and looks solely at the elusive deep water creatures. The success of this work is highly mixed, however, leaving readers starved for more.


* The authors revamp previous attempts by past cryptozoologists at creating a systematic categorization of creatures. In this way, they lay out a "field guide" similar to a field guide for birds that would make distinctions between woodpeckers and owls. For their system, they opt for creatures that hew to

--Classic Sea Serpent


--Mystery Cetacean

--Giant Shark

--Mystery Manta

--Great Sea Centipede

--Mystery Saurian

--Cryptid Chelonian

--Mystery Sirenian

--Giant Beaver

--Mystery Monitor


--Mystery Salamander

--Giant Octopus

* The book covers a wide-ranging variety of creatures and does a good job in globe trotting.

* Each type within the classification system is given some preliminary info, overviews of well-known sightings, plus a few expanded narratives containing more specific information.

* The book's layout is nicely conceived, with an effort made to appear scholarly enough to lend credence to the field of cryptozoology.

* There are plenty of interesting encounters listed, enough to keep folks interested and turning pages.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Zekeriyah VINE VOICE on May 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
From the authors of "The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide", this book tackles the various sea serpents, lake monsters and other aquatic cryptids in the same manner. It's not exactly an in-depth scientific survey, but it is a pretty good introduction to the phenomena, and it does try to cover a vast array of hypothetical species. We begin with a history of the sea serpent, going through important historical sightings, early studies of sea serpents, the discovery of the giant squid, and Heuvelmans attempted categorization. In these sections the book reads pretty much as a general history of Cryptozoology, so most readers will probably be familar with the material.

The real meat of the book comes in from the "species profiles", in which Coleman and Huyghes showcase the different cryptids they came up with in their system. Some come from Heuvelmans' studies (with a new look at the "supper otter") while others are entirely new. Each write-up includes an illustration, maps, an overview of the creature and it's habitats, range and behavior, and a few brief sightings. All in all, over a dozen species are covered. We are presented with the familar "classic sea serpent", the "water horse" (maned, long necked seals according to the authors), Heuvelman's "sea centipede" (a multi-finned whale), marine crocodiles and giant sharks, sea turtles and octopi. More exotic sea creatures mentioned included the Trinty Alps giant salamander, Mokole-Mbembe (a surviving dinosaur said to dwell in the Congo), the Buru (a possibly extinct monitor lizard from the Himalayas), surviving populations of Steller's sea cows, a giant beaver seen in Utah's Salt Lake and unidentified species of manta rays and whales.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Steve Goodrich on November 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Lake Monsters and Sea Serpents" is without question the paragon of books ever written on the subject of large unexplained sea and lake phenomena. Serious researchers owe everything to Bernard Heuvelman's "In the Wake of Sea Serpents" naturally, but this book goes several steps beyond Heuvelman's masterpiece.

This book, as with all of Mr. Coleman's books, doesn't try to document every single sighting ever made. It instead documents a few examples to enhance the overall purpose of the book. In doing so, we are presented with an all inclusive outline of every single lake and sea monster that ever reared it's head above water.
Mr. Coleman takes the liberty of revamping the categories of water monsters in a more up to date and pragmatic manner. This modernized enhancement to the classic types of water monsters is at once comfortable and surprising.
The book is filled with illustrations of the different types of creatures as well as maps logging their sightings. And as we have come to expect with Mr. Coleman's books, the appendix and bibliography at the end of the book make it alone worth the cover price.
It is beyond imagination how anyone from the arm chair curious, to the hard core researchers can do without this book. Mr. Coleman has done all the work for us, we have only to pick up the torch and carry on the investigations.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sea Monster on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
The book is a collection of sea monsters accounts and a classification that updates Heuvelmans classic book of 1968. An good introductory text, experienced hunters in the deep will find a number of novelties not published in books so far. It mentions recent discoveries of large marine animals, recent promblematic corpses, new estimates of unknown animal numbers and as well as new tidbits of monsterology from around the world. Most of these items have not been compiled before in a aquatic monster book so these alone make the book worth buying for the reader interested in more than the standard Heuvelmans derived material in most sea monster coffee table books.
Most the book is in the form of an Encyclopedia with sea monsters broken up into types that are then described with reference to one or two encounters. Offering both new sightings and a new classification this section is of interest again most to the sea monster familiar reader rather than the layperson. Some of the categories are unequivocal even if giant beavers, sharks and octopuses don't exist, their existence as distinct categories of observation cannot really be gainsaid. Coleman and Huyghes like Heuvelmans wander into more problematic territory when they move into sea serpents. They divide them into two basic types with subcategories. Such shoehorning perhaps prevents objective evaluation of observations (which are after all, all that we have) and may cause important details to be overlooked. Nonetheless this section is a fun controversial read.
A fine text which whilst accessible to all will also be appreciated by the more advanced scholar of marine monsters.
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