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Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals (Natural World) Paperback – March 27, 1997

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0124083554 ISBN-10: 0124083552 Edition: 1ST

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals is a most precious volume. It is a work of almost heroic proportions, more akin in its scope and feel to the great monographs of the nineteenth century than a modern work. Yet it is also a field guide and works admirably as such. What has won this book pride of place on my bookshelves, however, is the extraordinary fusion it represents between science, natural history, and art. Kingdon's African Mammals is a very special human achievement. It is, I sense, a love letter to a place that has nurtured, instructed and given its author space to grow. In a world of ever-increasing specialisation and division of labour, I fear we will not see a similar work again."
--Tim Flannery in BBC WILDLIFE
"Of the many guides we considered, the best was The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals. Extremely comprehensive, with excellent illustrations and good maps, this has something for anyone travelling to Africa."
--Judging Panel for the 1997 BP NATURAL WORLD BOOK PRIZE
"All naturalists resident in or visiting the continent should have a copy. It is much more than a field guide."
--Jeremy J D Greenwood in HABITAT
"For anyone planning an African safari, this guide should be as essential as binoculars..."
--David Tomlinson in NEW SCIENTIST
"A good field guide, whatever its subject, is a delight to have on ones bookshelf, and this one is a topper. One main, magnificent first for this guide is that it covers all known mammals of Africa, not just the large ones. This is an exquisite book to have, even if you have no intention to ever visit Africa (but then you are likely to change your mind after this Kingdon experience)."
--Hans Kruuk in MAMMAL NEWS
"Travellers and students of wildlife should take notice--this volume sets the standard for the field... A childhood in British East Africa and more than 25 years of producing atlases of the mammals have equipped Kingdon with a possibly unrivaled knowledge of his subjects, and this yields unusual and thought-provoking insights... As an artist and sculptor who works in abstract, impressionistic and illustrative styles, Kingdon brings an immediacy to his drawings that escapes all other field guides... The 1150 or so mammals that earn a place in his book are not just represented by the usual police-style profiles, but also by pictures of gripping emotion and playful naughtiness--usually several, sometimes many, for each species... Buy this book for yourself andfor anyone else who likes nature just to know that you possess several thousand of Kingdon's wonderful drawings... This is quite simply a superb and authoritative work by an author of unsurpassed credentials and talent for his task. Everybody will delight in it."
--Mark Pagel, University of Oxford, in NATURE
"Since the appearance of his seven-volume encyclopaedia of East African mammals in the 1970s, Kingdon has become a figure of high distinction in conservationist circles. His extraordinary talents as a writer and painter have been dedicated to an astonishingly beautiful and detailed records of African fauna and the ecosystems that sustain them. This makes his new field guide rather more than a handbook...The richness of information is exemplary. The illustrations would make a big cat purr... It is one of Kingdons strengths, both as a naturalist and as an artist, that he is interested in how animals look and feel to each other... His drawings and paintings stress the elegant functionality of body geometry, the way animals use facial and body patterns for visual signalling."
--John Ryle in THE GUARDIAN
"...this is not merely a very good field guide, but in all probability the best field guide to African mammals ever published."
--INTERNATIONAL ZOO NEWS
"There are about 1150 species of mammal found in Africa. All of them are mentioned in this remarkable book. ...any birdwatchers travelling to Africa really should take a copy with them."
--BTO NEWS
"This book sets a new standard for field guides to mammals with regard to complete coverage of the mammals species of Africa, excluding Madagascar, in a compact and portable format, and with regard to the quality of its color drawings and maps. I highly recommend this book for the serious Africa traveler and naturalist."
--Jan Decher in JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY

From the Back Cover

Jonathan Kingdon, one of the foremost authorities on African mammals, has both written and illustrated this entirely new field guide which sets new standards in African mammalogy.
All the known species of African land mammal are covered in a concise text providing full information on identification, distribution, ecology, evolutionary relationships and conservation status. The focus is always on the mammals as seen in the field and on their ecology and evolutionary interrelationships. Introductory profiles summarise the characteristics of the various mammal groups, and coverage of several of the more complex groups of small mammals is simplified by reference to genera, though all 1150 African species are listed.
The most up to date classification and species list is employed. Twelve newly recognised species of bushbaby, fourteen newly named baboons, guenons and mangabeys and nine newly recognised colobus monkeys contribute to the most modern possible treatment of the primates. New species of bats, rodents and fox are also included as well as a fully revised listing of the duikers, squirrels and genets.
Kingdon combines his long personal experience of Africa and his artistic talent with the best that modern natural history and biological science can offer. Listing all 1150 species and with over 480 colour pictures and 280 maps covering some 460 mammal species groups, this book will be an essential companion to all visiting Africa or with an interest in the mammals of the continent.

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Product Details

  • Series: Natural World
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 1ST edition (March 27, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0124083552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0124083554
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,250,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Laszlo Wagner on June 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First let me say that in general I find this book excellent, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the mammalian fauna of Africa.
It is very comprehensive, covering every single species of African mammals with the exception of bats, rodents, insectivores, elephant-shrews and hyrraxes, which are usually represented by one species for each genus. But every single genus is represented, and of rodents, every species of squirrel is dealt with separately.
The information accompanying each species is very detailed and appears up to date.

Now for the shortcomings:
1) The illustrations are next to the description of each species. Given how detailed/long the texts are, this means that usually there are just 1 or 2 species shown on each page, so to compare all antelopes you must look through a hundred pages or so - not very practical in a field guide!
2) Maps are often pages away from the text and illustration, with no reference to their whereabouts. I often thought there was no map for a species/genus, only to find it pages away, combined with the map for another taxon.
3) While illustrations are identified by the species' English name, the maps are confusingly id'ed by Latin names only. If you aren't familiar with the latter, it takes some cross-reference to find out which species' range you are looking at.
4) The illustrations vary so much in standard that it is hard to believe they were drawn by one person... While most are quite good, even excellent and life-like, others are quite awful, either showing animals with stiff, straight limbs/bodies as if drawn with a ruler (like the Crowned Monkey) or in highly unnatural positions (like the Potto with the limbs twisted out, or the Cheetah standing up like a circus horse).
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a dream book for those interested in African mammals. First of all, it does not concentrate on "popular" species, such are lions and cheetahs, but talks about all species and important sub-species. The layout of the book is like this: first the author talks about a certain class of mammals, ex. Carnivores, and talks about the things characteristic to that class; then he goes down to family, e.g. canids, and talks about aspects characteristic to that family, and finally, the species themselves, and talks about their individual characteristics, distribution, size, and status. And it goes like that until every species, family and class of African mammal is mentioned. There are no pictures in the book, but color illustrations of all the species mentioned. The illustations are high-class, so much you can easily imagine what the animal looks like in real life. And now, a few bad points. As a bonus, he adds the names of animals in French, German, and a few African languages. Unfortunately, this is inconsistent throughout the book. I understand for the African languages, but French and German translations should have been given for each species. Also, he doesn't mention the mammals of Madagascar, even though Madagascar is part of Africa. And another thing, which would have been nice: with eponymized species (e.g. Ruppell's fox, Wolf's monkey) he should have mentioned who those species were named for. Nevertheless, I still give this book the highest score, for being complete, at least for continental Africa.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the most complete works on mammals of Africa I have ever read. I wish Mr. Kingdon had written one for each continent. Contains scientific, English, French and German names for each animal and local names as well (Swahili).Habits, habitat, behavior and everything else you would expect from such a gifted author, artist, and scientist. The illustrations by the author are museum quality art. I cannot recommend this book too highly, simply the best in such a small volume, worth twice the price.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gayle M. Ward on April 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having seen a dilapidated old copy of this book in the hands of our safari guide,in Tanzania whose knowledge was unbelievable, we just had to have one when we got home.The information contained is unsurpassed.Kingdon's research into the genetic background and the locations of the animals is amazing.Illustrations,diagrams etc. very reader friendly. A great book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
This guide book is simply one of the best regional mammal guide books in existance. As well as providing good descriptions of the mammals, it looks at them in the context of their evolutionary history. It does contain a few errors, as is to be expected in a book of this scope. For example, servals are reported from Egypt, where, as far as I am aware, they have not been recorded in historic times. Overall, however, the book is outstanding.I used it throughout a 14-month trip to Africa and it never let me down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By WM1028 on January 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I used this book during my semester abroad studying wildlife ecology in Kenya and Tanzania. It was wonderful, not only for identification purposes but also for learning about the behaviors and habitats of the different species. It is well organized and beautifully illustrated. I would highly recommend this book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 16, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent text describing size, habitat, behavior, food and status accompanies beautiful colored illustrations of "all the know African land mammaals". Range maps appear below the illustrations which are adjacent to the text. Each order of mammals is described in detail as well.
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