56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Else Quite Like It
This book has some shortcomings. It doesn't cover many varieties of mushrooms, and it is ultra-conservative in the rules for collection. Still, for the beginner who wants to get out there and start hunting, this is the best book to start with.
Cep or King Bolete
Red Cracked Bolete
Hen of the Woods
Published on January 2, 2010 by Richard R. Powell
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For Beginners only
This book was for the most beginning of beginners. They say to stay away from any gilled mushrooms (I love gilled mushrooms). My other criticism is that the book doesn't mention morel mushrooms which are not a gilled mushroom and in my top 10 of all the most delicious of the fungi and not that difficult to id.
Published on November 10, 2008 by C. Walker
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2.0 out of 5 stars NOT MUCH USE.. only informational really and at that not good enough to identify edible from non edible.,
This review is from: Mushrooming without Fear: The Beginner's Guide to Collecting Safe and Delicious Mushrooms (Paperback)Though no fault of the seller this book doesn't really help for a field guide and is almost useless for determining what you need to know for mushroom hunting. I think I would have done better to hire someone to show me. It did have some pictures of mushrooms I wasn't familiar with and some ideas of location. It is good information for identifying if you are experienced mushroom hunter but nothing else.
3.0 out of 5 stars Very basic book,
This review is from: Mushrooming without Fear: The Beginner's Guide to Collecting Safe and Delicious Mushrooms (Paperback)This is a very basic book that really only goes over a very small group of mushrooms. I was looking for something a little more in depth. However for a beginner this would be an excellent book. The photographs are clear with a range of different conditions you would find mushrooms in.
4.0 out of 5 stars Supremely useful,
This review is from: Mushrooming without Fear: The Beginner's Guide to Collecting Safe and Delicious Mushrooms (Paperback)I have lots of mushroom books; I'm an amateur naturalist so I tend to go broad when I'm exploring a topic. This one is not what you'd use to key out a mushroom, but it is the most practical if you want to EAT mushrooms. Although, by following its strict rules, you will pass up a lot of edible mushrooms, you will not have to worry about being poisoned, and you'll start to appreciate what is out there.
I've now identified, harvested and eaten seven or eight kinds of mushrooms, and it is very gratifying. When I nailed a five-pound cauliflower mushroom and made two days of meals with it, let me tell you, I was durned proud. This book was certainly a big part of what gave me the confidence to pick and eat large quantities of wild mushrooms.
I would never let this be the ONLY mushroom book on your shelf, but it has an important contribution to make.
1.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book if you want to poison yourself,
Here, 128 pages are devoted to only 12 mushroom species. (Not mushroom "types" as is suggested on the rear cover, these are twelve particular species). Surprisingly little space is devoted to content. Consider:
- 17 pages are title sheets with section titles, the table of contents, and a blank filler page
- 13 pages are devoted to explanation of, and multiple re-hashings, of 8 basic rules of collecting. One page, which begins with the words "Always remember..." is repeated FIVE TIMES. That's five copies of the same one-page reminder, which has also been thoroughly rehashed several times before.
The margins are extremely wide and the text is large. The photographs, while impressive, are sometimes accompanied by only one or two sentences per page. Some photographs have no text at all, and a few are repeated at different places in the book either by direct repetition or by Photoshop cropping or bunching.
Critical identification techniques (such as spore printing) are completely absent from this book. Identification instructions are so vague as to be almost impossible to use effectively. Although the photographs are outstanding, some of them are repeated to fill space. Mushrooms are seldom shown in the button stage.
Shockingly, the poisonous look-alikes are not actually shown. In some cases, key information about poisonous look-alikes is missing. For example, the Jack O' Lantern mushroom (which is identified in SOME field guides as having gills but which can often resemble the false gills or "ridges" of a chanterelle) is found almost exclusively on rotting wood. This so-called guide says that the chanterelle is found on the forest floor, but a key identification component for the mildly poisonous look-alike is omitted. (By "mildly poisonous", I mean an effect serious enough to require hospitalization but not necessarily fatal). The far more dangerous galerina mushrooms, which are also easily mistaken for chanterelles especially the trumpet chanterelles, are not mentioned.
The fact that at least some orange-capped boletes are mildly poisonous does not deter the author from recommending the orange birch bolete. Likewise, several blue-bruising and red boletes are toxic. The puffball is shown in cross section (as is appropriate) but the look-alike "Destroying Angel", one bite of which will cause liver failure in an adult, looks almost identical in its immature form. Most responsible authors provide at least a drawing of a baby amanita to show what it looks like before it bursts out of its volva. Immature agarics can also resemble puffballs (although agarics generally aren't quite as toxic as the death cap or destroying angel amanitas, which can and will kill you with one bite).
Some of the safety recommendations are overkill: it is not necessary to cook all wild mushrooms for fear they have been contaminated by "dogs". If the mushroom has been soiled by a dog, don't pick it or eat it. Similarly, there is no mushroom so toxic that it is dangerous to touch or to cut with a knife. Instead of overstating the risks of touching the wrong mushroom, the author would have been better advised to at least draw a picture of the deadliest mushrooms in their button form, which is when they are most likely to be confused with edible ones.
Expect a lot of baby talk. The term "tummy ache" makes an appearance, as does an extended ramble about Santa Claus near the end of the book. Some of the information about fly agaric is just plain wrong: the fly agaric found in Europe happens to be a different species from North American fly agaric, so the stories about berzerkers and Santa Claus (while amusing) are in reference to the wrong mushroom. Add to this the spelling errors and repetition, and you will see that the book was clearly not peer reviewed or even edited prior to publication. There is no index, and sources are not cited.
Note also that the author decided-- on page 102 of 128-- to redefine some basic North American geography. "Eastern North America" is assumed to be primarily north of Georgia, the "Pacific Northwest" is assumed to be Washington, Oregon, and parts of Idaho, and "California" refers to the Bay Area only. The Rocky Mountains and Midwest are completely ignored, as is the entire nation of Canada. This IS NOT A NORTH AMERICAN FIELD GUIDE.
This author most likely knows how to take a spore print and what an amatoxin is. Unfortunately he has oversimplified mushroom collection to the point where he is not providing enough identification information to safely identify the twelve desireable mushrooms in the book. This is ironic given the extent to which the author harps on safety.
If you want an actual North American field guide, the National Audubon Society is an excellent field guide, and Michael Kuo's "100 Edible Wild Mushrooms" will provide you with far more useful information.
5.0 out of 5 stars good book,
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent!!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book,
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed to go mushrooming.,
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to know which are which,
5.0 out of 5 stars Mushrooms,
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Mushrooming without Fear: The Beginner's Guide to Collecting Safe and Delicious Mushrooms by Alexander Schwab (Paperback - October 17, 2007)
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