Delightful, as usual,
This review is from: Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind (Hardcover)
Over the years, I have become an avid appreciator of Richard Fortey's books. I find them to be near perfect for the interested, if under-educated, layman such as I am. This is no exception. Having had my own first first-hand experience with horseshoe crabs recently, all the better.
While I do understand the wish on the part of a couple of the reviewers here for more technical biological background and detail, I cannot say that I find that a problem myself, and I suspect that there are many others like me, who have a solid interest, but lack the training and background knowledge to support a more in-depth treatment. I think Fortey has a pretty good idea of who he is writing for. The detail provided allows me to follow where he is going without finding myself bogged down trying to suss the finer points that other scientists, and the more specifically educated, might find more rewarding. By similar turn, though, I am not stupid and Fortey does not "write down" to his readers. What he does is what only the finest popular science writers are able to do: make the world he visits come alive in a coherent and exuberent manner.
And Fortey is a very good writer. He is able to allow his work to become personal to the reader and share his knowlege and experience in a conversational tone. This allows us, as readers, to be part of the conversation and not simply passive bodies in a lecture hall. This is a great big beautiful world we live in, filled with an almost endless pool of fascinating things to know about. I am not in a position myself to be able to explore them all first-hand, and so I am greatful for writers like Fortey who are able do some of that exploring and report back with such a clarity and sense of wonder.