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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2012
Just received this yesterday. Ordered it sight unseen and hoped for the best. This book is gorgeous! The collection is amazing, and the photography is beautifully done and well lit. The skulls are on a black background, which seems to intensify the details. I was afraid there wouldn't be many photographs, but the book is jam packed with them. The collection is diverse and the skulls are in great condition. Two people who couldn't care less about skulls or bones were fascinated. I can't wait for the weekend to get here so I can sit down and spend some serious time with it. A very exciting find!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 1, 2012
This hardcover is a beautiful collection of Nick Mann's photos of skulls that were prepared by a private collector, Alan Dudley. Dudley came to Winchester's attention after getting busted buying an illegal howler monkey skull. He pleaded guilty, did his service and paid his fine, and the implication is that he isn't normally one to slip up in this way. (Replicas of many species are readily available, by the way.) Dudley gets almost all of his skulls from zoos.

Among this book's virtues are a plethora of bird, fish and reptile skulls. Photographs of mammal skulls are widely available as they are the taxonomic touchstone for mammals. The others, not so much. Partly they are less common because (I know from trying) fish and reptile skulls can be the very devil to prepare.

Of special interest: a great assortment of hornbills, odd and fragile skulls of venomous snakes, wild pigs with their seemingly self-destructive curving tusks. Be sure to take a look at the domestic dog skulls and consider what we have done to the sturdy wolf.

Most of the photos are by Nick Mann, who has done great work on other Workman Publishing science books as well, and most are excellent. The photos are interspersed with Winchester's wry text about skulls in art, history, human evolution, etc. These are interesting, written for a non-technical audience, but this is primarily a visual book and a beautiful addition to the natural history library.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The photographs of the 3000 skull collection are wonderful, and the narrative gives a course in natural history. I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you want a "coffee table" book that will start a discussion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
I ordered this book after viewing the article on it in Discover magazine and was instantly blown away by the content. There are so many examples in this book and not just those of the common variety (2-headed calf skull!). Each skull is accompanied by scientific classification, a picture of a living counterpart, information about the animal and occasionally an interesting tidbit by Dudley himself. Chapters are also headed by an article pertaining to skull history, information, ect. The book is also seperated into types such as birds, mammals, reptiles, and so on each with amazing photographs of the skulls themselves. Besides this being an informative and delightful book to look at, it outdoes itself in being a great artists reference (which was my main reason for purchasing)especially for little know skulls. Thank you Dudley and Simon for sharing these wonderful creatures with us!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hardcover with photographic boards, issued less DJ, 10" x 10", 256 Pages, hundreds of photographs of animal skulls in color. Published by Black Dog & Leventhal, Publishers, New York, 2012.

This review comes down to a very simple question : Are you interested in a book featuring hundreds of well-photographed color depictions of bleached and bare animal skulls......or not ? This book features unadorned photos of the skulls of Frogs, Newts, Seabirds, Birds Of Prey, Game Birds, Kingfishers and Hornbills, Toucans and Woodpeckers, Nightjars and Swifts, Owls, Cassowaries, Ostriches and Rheas, Parrots, Perching Birds, Penguins, Pigeons, Wading Birds,, water Birds, Spiny-Finned Fish, Piranha & catfish, Eels, Cod, Pike, Bowfish, Aardvarks, Armadillos, Bandicoots, Pangolins, Bats, Carnivores, Egg-Laying mammals, Even-Toed Ungulates, Odd-toed Ungulates, Flying Lemurs, Hedgehogs, Marsupials, Moles, Opossums, Primates, Rabbits, Rodents, Sloths, Tenrecs, Treeshrews, Hyraxes, Elephants, Whales/Dolphins, Crocodiles, Lizards/Snakes, and Turtles. If you can get through this list. then this book is almost certainly for you !

Much more interesting : Der Kult um Kopf und Schädel
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2013
I wish I could recommend this book; in fact the content is excellent. The problem is that it has, like so many other pictorial publications these days, been produced in China. In this case that means that the pages literally stink of some sort of chemical--so much so that it is impossible to read without being overpowered. I have found many Chinese-printed books to reek of chemicals, and I don't mean a mild smell but an odor that can hardly be endured. Whatever they are doing there (likely a process forbidden in western nations) ought to be taken into consideration by publishers. In addition the actual picture content is not as well done as could be. This likely also results from cheap production methods. If you have allergies or if you intend to read this book indoors, be prepared for the smell, which approximates formaldehyde.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2012
This book is well suited for the amateur as well as the professional skull/bone collector. The photographs are excellent as well as the description of each skull. I would highly recommend this book to any age or educational level.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
I bought this as a Christmas present for my son and was tickled when he told me he'd recently seen it in a bookstore and wished he'd bought it for himself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
Skulls by Simon Winchester is a gorgeous book. I love the informative sections on the culture and history of skulls, but I'm a bit disappointed with the photos of the collection. I'm not asking that they be life size, only that there be measurements so that we know what we are looking at. For example, the tiny skeleton of a sea horse fill an entire page of this coffee-table sized book, with no size reference whatsoever. On the other hand, for those of us interested in skulls, the book is fascinating. I was particularly interested in the bird skulls (again, no size reference) and how the beak or bill related to the rest of the skull. I found the fish skulls other-worldly and pretty creepy, and something you don't get to see very often. I don't think this book can be used as a reference for someone collecting skulls, but for someone just interested in looking at them, it's a treat.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2012
I bought this book for my husband - he has really enjoyed it. We originally saw it at a Museum in Philadelphia.
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