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Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods Hardcover – October 3, 2017
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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"It is a treat to come across a writer with such specialized training who is able to turn esoteric knowledge into a page-turning read for all audiences." --Science
"Staaf's approach is short and sweet, well illustrated and strong on playful narrative. . . . I loved this book." --Nature
"A book like Squid Empire is a reminder that in any scientific narrative, there are always two stories at play. There is the history of the subject you're studying, and then there is the history of its discovery." --New Republic
“Cephs rule! Squid Empire, like its protagonists, is nimble, fast, surprising, smart, and weird in the very coolest sense of the word. What could be more fun than jetting back in time to primordial seas with the monsters who really ruled our planet? In these pages, Danna Staaf makes every dino-lover and every undersea adventurer’s dream come true. It’s a fabulous read with squishy, slimy delight on every page.” (Sy Montgomery, New York Times-bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus)
“This crystal-clear book will open your world to wider horizons and much deeper times. . . . Long before vertebrates evolved anything like higher intelligence, squids and octopuses were on a separate track to versatility, problem-solving, individual recognition, and deceit. Before we can know who we are, we must know who we are here with, and who has come before us.” (Carl Safina, New York Times-bestselling author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel)
“This engaging book may do for early cephalopods what paleontologists did for dinosaurs in the 1960s: spark a public renaissance of appreciation for these magnificent creatures who once ruled the seas.” (Jennifer Ouellette, author of Me, Myself and Why and The Calculus Diaries)
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If I have a criticism of her book it’s that Ms. Staaf seems to know her subject too well. She seemed at times to take it for granted that her readers would grasp her points without the need for diagrams. Which was a shame. While her explanations were usually clear, it would nevertheless have been helpful to have been given a diagram of specific cephalopods being discussed as pivotal in the evolution of the species. And it would have been especially helpful to have been given a diagram of body parts that Ms. Staaf noted as having caused long debate in academic circles concerning their placement and use. As it was, the internet had the necessary diagrams, but they should have been in the book.
Another criticism is that Ms. Staaf wasn't always consistent in her references, one minute noting, for example, that vampire squid are actually octopuses and not squid, and next lumping them back in with squid rather than with octopuses. The name of the things makes for inherent confusion I suppose, but it seems wrong to correct a misunderstanding only to then further it.
But those are minor complaints. Overall, I found Ms. Staaf’s book to be written in an engaging manner, to contain interesting facts and discussions, and to be very much a book I’d recommend to others who enjoy popular science books. Well done (even though I hope any future editions of the book will include more photos and diagrams).
Most recent customer reviews
Danna not only managed to dig up hidden knowledge currently only available to the most dedicated...Read more
Recommend this book to increase general knowledge.