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Though there are other publications that include the entire series of notebooks maintained as a diary of thoughts and concepts, puzzles, dreams and creative ideas by the great Leonardo da Vinci, this publication under the astute editorship of H. Anna Suh condenses the notebooks, focusing on most of the truly profound writings of the artist. The quality of production in transposing old paper to new is excellent with respectful use of sepia tone and black and white reproductions that make the book eminently readable.

da Vinci's Notebooks contain some of the more far-reaching thinking of his day, ideas about flight, acoustics, astronomy, and architecture that weren't completely realized for centuries after his death. These are the notes of a genuine genius, a man who not only understood his art but also understood anatomy on a scientific level far beyond the scientists of his time.

But all of this is merely fact and information we have all known for a long time. The reason for recommending this particular volume is the quality of illustration control, the footnotes, the capable translations of da Vinci's notes, and the generous manner in which the material is laid out on the page. This is not only, then, an important book exploring da Vinci's history and mind, it is also an homage to the master's drawing, philosophy, and genteel brain that dared to explore areas of thought long before others attempted. Of all the versions of the da Vinci Notebooks, this is the most artistically sound and readable. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 05
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VINE VOICEon March 23, 2013
It is possible, with only a few pages from Leonardo Da Vinci's many notebooks, to do away with all other books on the subject of information design. In this way, if you plan to "learn so you can practice," this book or any other book on Leonardo's notebooks will not only be sufficient but will outclass everything else.

If you want a book specifically about Leonardo's notebooks, however, this book is all-too truncated. There simply aren't enough representations of his work to really "dig in" and see how he was able to cross intellectual barriers while retaining the same perspective. You'll get a handful of examples, and if you bought any of dozen or so similar books you'll mostly see the same examples repeated in each one.

My recommendation to anyone wanting a semi-thorough collection (for no full collection exists to my knowledge) is to hunt around your local antique and used book stores. I was able to acquire a massive volume of Leonardo's works, called simply Leonardo Da Vinci (published in 1956 by Reynal & Company) which has around 1,500 examples of notebook pages and various sketches along with essays and descriptions in each of the major fields (human and animal anatomy and physiology, warfare, engineering, structures, and more). It cost about twice as much as a modern collection (such as this one) and is many, many times more thorough. I only wish such thoroughness was more readily available and didn't require months of searching.

In all, this book (which I gifted to a friend who didn't ask as much of it as I did) is worthwhile if you only need a glance at Leonardo's notebooks. If you want to take a good look, you'll need to do so elsewhere.
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on September 29, 2013
I bought this for the Kindle app on my iPad 3 device expecting to see the illustrations I saw in the soft cover book I found with the same name at a museum store. What I expected and what I received are two different things. None of the cool diagrams in the printed book are present in this version of the book for the Kindle app on the iPad. It's really a false statement to say this kindle book is illustrated.
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on October 4, 2006
Here you can browse through the minutiae of a genius' observations about the world around him--from flight, the human body, the nature of water, proportion, optics, movement and weight. What will impress you on every fascinating page is the universality of Leonardo's thirst for knowledge, making him truly the epitome of the "Renaissance man," and perhaps the last human who can truly be called a polymath: "the natural desire of good men is knowledge."
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on December 18, 2007
The only thing keeping this book from top grade is that the author didn't help with a deduction of Leonardo's letters where it surely was needed - in the anatomical studies for example.
This makes it hard to understand the meaning of the drawings compared with the translated text, because Leonardo's letters(in the drawings) doesn't look like anything from the Roman alphabet. So when the meaning of the letters that appears in the drawings are mentioned in the text, you can't understand what letters goes with what in the drawings, because the text ONLY use the Roman alphabet(and NOT Leonardo's letters as seen in the drawings).

In other words, to fully get the whole meaning of Leonardo's writings and drawings you do need a "Leonardo - Roman alphabet" dictionary.
This is a major set back, and the worst is that the author could have avoided this so easily.

Other than that the book is amazing.
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on November 28, 2005
The Da Vinci Code? In one word: genius. And we don't mean Dan Brown's tome. We mean the man himself, the Renaissance master who very name conjures up the definition of "brilliance." This collection --- the first to be published in more than 35 years --- is culled from Leonardo's myriad of notebooks that he filled with ruminations on painting, botany, aerodynamics, geography, physical science, anatomy and architecture. This massive collection illuminates the mind of one of history's greatest minds and talents through the most extraordinary sketches, drawings, jottings and paintings. Most fascinating: da Vinci's own handwritten notes, here carefully translated and insightfully edited by art historian H. Anna Suh. Somewhere in that Great Palette, even good ol' Miss Mona is sweetly smiling.
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on January 3, 2007
Reading the words that were penned by the master himself is a spine tingling experience. Even if you have trouble understanding it, or can't really learn anything, you are exposing yourself to the words and teachings of one of the greatest thinkers ever to walk the planet. That in itself is an amazing and inspirational experience.

This is a greatly presented work. It contains only a small portion of all his work, (many pages of his notebooks were destroyed ages ago) but this bit here is enough for years of study and development.
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on February 22, 2007
If you enjoy researching from old documents, you will enjoy this book. It isn't an easy read, however, if you're looking for just an armchair novel. Leonardo had his opinions on many subjects, and wrote fairly technically. The drawings are wonderful, as you might expect, and the diversity of subjects gives the reader a glimpse into his wide range of interests.
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on September 16, 2007
This is a great book that I had been looking forward to getting for a while. The images and writting is good, although a bit hard to understand at times. The ONLY problem I have with this book that gets it a 4 out of 5 stars for me is the fact that it is so tall and wide. Granted it makes looking at the pictures much easier but it also makes storage of this book MUCH harder. The book is to tall to stand on any but the top shelf on all of my book shelfs and it is so wide that it protudes from the edge of the shelf.

Don't let this distract you from getting this book however. It's detailed pictures are wonderful considering the orginal size of the works and the translations help with the reading. There's a section for each catagory, such as anatomy and lighting, which really helps if you want to look at certain types of works. The greatness of these pictures will have you looking at each page for hours, just to see all the details.

I would suggest this book for anyone from an art lover to a history fanatic. I use it as a reference book for one of my drawing classes. It's a great buy for anyone and everyone.
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on October 11, 2012
I am so glad I got this book. Don't be fooled by the odd high prices, this is a $40 book, it's printed on the sleeve, so I don't know why so many people are posting it for $100+, there is something wrong here. I got my NEW book for $20 a few days ago, this is not an old book, so it's not like a rare find. Amazon needs to correct the price of this book back down to retail $40, like it has printed on the inside front leaf. Anyhow, it's a great book and shows so much more about Da Vinci than my other book that only talks about his paintings. GREAT book for your shelf.
Leonardo's Notebooks
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