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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific intro to botany
My biological specialty was microbiology, and I hated most of the botany courses I took. This book made me change my mind about the appeal of the subject. Not only is it enlightening, it is a joy to read. Some of my favorite lines are "This ancestor was the first land plant, and without it,...there certainly would be no Homo sapiens and no Oxford University Press and no...
Published on August 2, 2012 by JG Bronson

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, though worthy
I had high hopes for this book when I ordered it, but it turns out to be disappointing. Although the author (and the other reviewers so far) seem to think that this is an introduction, it isn't really. The author assumes a lot of botanical and biological language that is, alas, opaque to 90% of normal readers. The book needed an ordinary human as an editor. We are...
Published on September 10, 2012 by toronto


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, though worthy, September 10, 2012
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This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
I had high hopes for this book when I ordered it, but it turns out to be disappointing. Although the author (and the other reviewers so far) seem to think that this is an introduction, it isn't really. The author assumes a lot of botanical and biological language that is, alas, opaque to 90% of normal readers. The book needed an ordinary human as an editor. We are plunged into "gametophyte" and "monophyletic" from the beginning. There are explanations of these terms, but you need a familiarity with botany to keep going, and if you have a familiarity already, what is the point of an Introduction? The most complicated thing to get your head around, the sort of pons asinorum (the crossing line into the subject) is getting the complicated plant life cycles firmly into your head, but the author does a terrible job of this, and there are no diagrams. Again, there are great things in this book, I learned a lot of interesting bits and pieces, but then I know some botany. You need to go elsewhere if you want to get into the topic from the beginning.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific intro to botany, August 2, 2012
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This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
My biological specialty was microbiology, and I hated most of the botany courses I took. This book made me change my mind about the appeal of the subject. Not only is it enlightening, it is a joy to read. Some of my favorite lines are "This ancestor was the first land plant, and without it,...there certainly would be no Homo sapiens and no Oxford University Press and no Very Short Introduction to Plants" and "One of these [sperm] does the decent thing and finds an egg and makes an honest zygote out of it." A valuable intro to the subject; one warning: the author does not shy away from using the appropriate technical terms, so if you want simplistic, this is not your book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Little Book!, September 5, 2013
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K. Coates "desertdog" (Phoenix-area, Arizona) - See all my reviews
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I downloaded this book because it's been a loooooong time since I had biology or botany in college and I wanted a review and update. This book is excellent--just enough information but not so much that it belabors the point. Probably a bit over the head of a rank beginner, but if you've had any biology or botany education in the past (even distant past), this book will quickly remind you of what you've forgotten and let you know what you need to look more deeply into. Also, I love the author's sense of humor! Very enjoyable reading!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stroll Through the Field of Plant Biology, July 12, 2012
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This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
Plants are, quite literary, everywhere. From the human perspective they are certainly the most recognizable and ubiquitous life form, and they have had an outsize impact on the Earth's environment and natural history. Plants are essential for our nutrition, and the history of civilization can on one level be understood in terms of our increasing ability to cultivate and harness the plant-based biomass for our survival needs. Plants have also had, and continue to have, a very important role in medicine. This book looks at those aspects of plants, but even more importantly it tries to instill the appreciation for these incredible organisms in their own right.

This book covers some of the most important aspects of the plant biology - the nature and the structure of the plant cell, the evolution of the plant life, and the spread and adaptation of plants to various climates and environments. The most fascinating part of the book is the one that tries to explain the invasion of the land by plants. This is probably one of the most significant events in the natural history, and without it no other kind of land life would have been possible, and you and I would probably not be reading this book. It is quite incredible how many technical problems needed to be resolved for the plants to leave the aquatic environment and successfully adopt themselves for the life on the land. Many of these adaptations we take for granted, if we even think about them (such as the ability of plants to accumulate and store large quantities of water and prevent their desiccation.) This book does a marvelous job of describing these adaptations and putting them within the context of plant biology in general.

For me personally one of the biggest lessons from the reading of this book was the renewed appreciation of the field and "macro" biology. Over the past two decades there has been an increasing pressure in university departments and other scientific organization on the micro and molecular biology. Those are indeed very important and trendy topics, but there is much more to life, and plant life in particular, than what can be deduced from observing it under the microscope or in the test tube. We could be decoding every gene out there until we are blue in face, but if we don't have a good appreciation for what macroscopic function for the given organism those genes serve, we'll never be fully able to understand its meaning and purpose. Those macroscopic aspects of biology are still hugely important, and a short book like this one can go a long way of reminding us of their utility and beauty.

Whether you are a plant aficionado or someone who needs to brush up on their high school plant biology, this short book will provide you with a lot of interesting pieces of information and insights into what continues to make plants such an interesting subject of fascination and study.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Also good for the person who doesn't want a college class ..., November 19, 2014
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This review is from: Plants: A Very Short Introduction (Paperback)
A scientific little book, small print, very packed with information. A dandy introduction to the world of plants and much more thorough than you would expect when you see this tiny volume! Also good for the person who doesn't want a college class in plants, yet has an interest in the development of the plant world, it's differentiation, and it's spread.
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Plants: A Very Short Introduction
Plants: A Very Short Introduction by Timothy Walker (Paperback - May 4, 2012)
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