Customer Reviews: Principles of Development
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on December 21, 2005
I used Wolpert's text for an undergrad developmental course. Given that the test assumes previous coursework in genetics/biochemistry, the content of the book could've been more in depth, especially in the chapters on vertebrates. Sometimes extra detail makes the big picture easier to understand; this book leaves a little too much to mystery and results in a confused reader. The glossary and index leave much to be desired. On a more positive note, the illustrations and photographs are as good as you'll find in any textbook. However, I suggest Gilbert's text.
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on September 22, 2003
I am currently using this text for my 300 level developmental biology class. You know the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words", well, this book is a thousand words without the pictures. It is very cumbersome to read. You know there is a problem when a book makes more sense when read in reverse. I am being very serious. FOr example, the author will be overly vague in introducing a topic, but still use specific terms without any prior introdution. Vital details necessary to understanding the text are given when needed. Throughout, terms are used before definitions are given, which makes the reader go nuts trying to figure out the meanings of more than half of the sentences.
Seriously, i do not understand the "excellent" reviews that others have given it.
I think it may be true that this book is VERY Comprehensive, but as far as clarity, theres none for students trying to understand the basics and a little more. If you are a professor, and know the material, then this book is probably a pleasure to read.
If you are like me, and just want to have a thorough understanding of the basics of developement, it would be in your best interest to look elsewhere.
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on August 16, 2010
I'm using this book for a development class at UC Irvine and it is truly dreadful to read. I'm a straight A student and I'm really struggling to find any meaning in this book. The information is all there but it's jumbled up and seemingly contradictory to the point that it's almost useless. I gave up reading the book... I'm just using the lecture slides. Don't waste your money... the book won't help you for your class.
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on February 4, 2014
This textbook is very well written, and it provides excellent displays to explain confusing concepts. The fact that it is also on the Kindle as an ebook makes having this textbook even better. It's very easy to throw my Kindle in my backpack, and take it out to read the textbook if I have extra time before class or what not. Don't be discouraged by the long chapters. The author has provided summaries of certain sections within the book which make great stopping points between chapters.
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on January 24, 2000
Wolpert's developmental biology textbook is evidently an excellent text in its field. The authors are all well recognized in thier research areas. The organization of the text is also very well written. The summary of the concept presented at the end of each chapter is helpful. The figures presented througout the text are clear and the language used to explain them is simple but very understandable. Compared with the well-known Gilbert's text, this text may be less in dept but you can get the concept from this book for only half of the time reading Gilbert's. It is a nice book to have both for the new beginner in the field and for just a quick reference.
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on July 15, 2011
-Easily one of the best textbooks I've read.
-The short length of most of the chapters made it possible to read entire chapters on a regular basis without feeling too overwhelmed.
-The chapters are divided up into sections that generally make sense, allowing for good spacing of concepts.
-The material is relatively straight-forward and has plenty of images/diagrams.
-The multiple choice questions at the end of each chapter were useful in reviewing what was read.
-Physically, it is not gigantic as compared to similar hardcover books. I found it wasn't too cumbersome to bring to coffee shops.
-At the time I read it, this book was relatively up-to-date with respect to current research in molecular, genetic, and developmental biology.
(-Having read much of this book, I was able to get an A+ in the course requiring the text.)

-Even though this book is relatively succinct as compared to most textbooks, I still encountered several paragraphs throughout the book which I think should really be 1/3 the size. (That is just my opinion though and doesn't speak to the quality of this book.)
-The short-answer questions at the end of each chapter do not appear to have an answer-key.
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on March 6, 2010
This book switches back and forth between model organisms too much; it would be better if there were a chapter on each of the 4 major model organisms and subsections about each stage of development.
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on January 6, 2010
I used this book for my development class, and honestly, it was one of the WORST biology books I have ever used, if not the worst. The textbook is incredibly boring and it does not explain any topics well at all. If you have to use this book for a course, I suggest that you get some type of study guide that will help you in this subject because this book will not help you. If I could give this book 0 stars, I would. Horribly written!
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on February 14, 2013
Very well written. Its actually interesting to read!
I am a bio major and i have to read a lot of these type of textbooks, this one is surely among the least boring and most to the point
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on September 6, 2015
This book is far too complex and convoluted. I have had no trouble in any upper level science class, but I just can't make heads or tails of this book.
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