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4.1 out of 5 stars
A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals (Peterson Field Guides)
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158 of 161 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is arranged according to the mineral classifications, which is good if you know your minerals. The mineral testing section (flame tests, bead tests, etc.) is not found in very many field guides. As a professional Geologist, I would recommend this to other geologists, not to rock hounds. The National Audubon Society's field guide is better for rock hounds; there are more photos and they are arranged by color. The Audubon's minerals are still by classification, but the testing information is not included.
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113 of 118 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the definitive handbook for the rockhound. Nicely updated with more and better pictures to help in identification of rocks and minerals. Too bad that Peterson's decided to save a nickel on the binding -- my copy of "Rocks and Minerals" was splitting out within a week.
I've had other Peterson's Field Guides which were softcover but HARD bound. These are useful handbooks that will last a lifetime.
If you buy a cheap paperback to read once, the binding isn't of much concern. A "field guide" deserves better.
The "Cambridge Guide to Minerals Rocks and Fossils" is just about as good, is about the same price, and has sewn in pages.
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57 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This Field Guide has been, and still is, The classic and useful Field Guide. Despite its title, this is mainly oriented toward minerals. Well organized and interestingly written, this is one of the few mineralogy texts which is both readable for enjoyment, and useful to both the beginner and the expert.
Part I includes an introduction on the philosophy and adjuncts of the collecting and study of minerals, briefly reviews geology and its rocks, discusses the physical properties of minerals (such as may be used to help distinguish the various species), introduces crystallography, a chemical classification of minerals written for the layman, and finally Tests, Techniques, and Tips, with many useful down-to-earth hints.
Part II is Mineral Descriptions, each one with name, formula, crystal system, and visual aids in the plates which include both diagrams and photographs. Several headings in each description are in boldface: Environment, Crystal description, Physical properties, Composition, Tests, Distinguishing characteristics, Occurrence, and Interesting Facts.
Also includes glossary, bibliography, index. Well organized and accurate, this little book has been used by some amateur mineralogists who, although using several more technical books during years of study, still find this one useful. Although another well-known text is the most commonly used one for college mineralogy courses, I have recommended that students also get a copy of the Field Guide. For the amateur exercising a bit of Emersonian self-reliance in the testing of his own specimens, this Field Guide is one of the very few remaining guides including good Tests (which have actually been tried before including them) under each species. Appeals to collectors to first try a few tests on extra material before turning specimens over to others such as over-burdened professionals. Also appeals to study some phase of the subject for ones' own edification and enjoyment, as one will get as much out of it as he or she puts into it. This Field Guide shows you how.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As a geology student studying mineral identification I looked long and hard at every R&M book I could find and came to the conclusion the 4th edition of this work is the best. Why not the 5th? While it has better photographs for the most part it's not cross referenced. So if you look up Actinolite and go to the plate with the image it has no reference to the text about the mineral! the 4th DOES! Sounds small but if your doing a lot of work the page flipping gets tiresome and it was such an easy thing to do....Also the section on rocks is weaker in the 5th.

Also as mentioned in other reviews the binding is subpar and not worthy of a Field Manual. Cheap paperback with poor type set as compared with the 4th. Just harder to read. The 4th has the classic field manual feel to it and one has confidence it wont self destruct in a ruck sack on a collecting trip.

The color photos are a slight improvement but don't suffice for sharp detail and please note color is a poor indicator of minerals. Sure a great color image would be wonderful but a B&W that highlights the important detail will serve us better.

Much of the Pough text seems in tact and is the lone saving grace! the descriptions are a great help to my understanding and far and away the best out there.

I know these sound like minor complaints but I nail with one star to hopefully rattle the publishers cage and print a new permanent edition worthy of Dr. Pough's effort. I found a similar recent Peterson Guide to medicinal plants that have nice sewn flex binding for $2 more than the R&M book! The current Bird guide has the classic type set. I even called the publisher to see if they published a "field guide" version as opposed to this paperback and was met in a joking manner that was of no help.

So c'mon! Amazon is one of the best places to get messages across when publishers laugh in our faces! This work is too important to let cheap publishers do a half effort job on.

And go buy a mint copy of the 4th used for $5!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I use this for my geochemistry/mineralogy class. The descriptions of minerals are very in-depth and good for those who understand what it's describing, but not so good for the layman. The color plates are quite nice. For the layman, I'd recommend the Golden Guide to Rocks and Minerals, as it has more images of the minerals in question. I'm also disappointed at the complete dearth of rock entries in this field guide. As one is most likely to encounter rocks as opposed to standalone minerals in the field, a guide with a greater focus on rocks would have been a great addition. I'm also disappointed that this guide does not go into detail on mineral lattice structures.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It has been some time since I have had a copy of this well written book and having now obtained the latest edition I have found it to be of the same high standard as the earlier editions. The old copy that I used to own was a hard copy version and was bounded in a more secure way than this latest edition which seems to be glued together. The result being that one page has already come loose and it is most likely to be an ongoing problem. But the contents of the book itself is of a high standard.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Not much to say other than it is informative and easy to use and understand. Good illustration and photos as well as many "old school" testing techniques. Should be in your pocket while out collecting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This is very good guide for the money. I feel that it some what general in selections of species, but very through in descriptive photos and information. A little light on the rarer species. I don't regret purchasing it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
North American centric obviously, but a very usefull book. Well written with a few tongue in cheek remarks to keep it from being just another dusty tome. I've gotten my money's worth here.
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on February 23, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have purchased this book three times as a professional geologist and mineral collector because I've destroyed them in the field. It has great descriptions and better information than other books such as the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals. I do enjoy the plates although I would like to see more examples of the minerals, however, that being said, its a bit of a pipe dream to have all the examples of the minerals, its simply an impossibility. As a mineralogy field guide its a great resource to be able to know what tests to perform to prove you have one mineral over another, and the way the book classifies the minerals by constituent also assists, however, Its not always the most obvious in how to narrow down different mineral types. You must have a rudimentary understanding of your minerals before you can use this book to any extent, and if you want to use it to its full extent, you better make your own book and know how to do all of the tests. As a field geologist, I've had to use the most rudimentary field supplies to determine mineralogies and this book helps, but be sure you read, read, and read to be sure you know what you are looking at and doing. Its a fantastic resource, but do not make it your only one.
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