Walker's Mammals of the World (2-Volume Set) 6th Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 20 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0801857898
ISBN-10: 9780801857898
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1930, the great mammalogist Ernest P. Walker (1891-1969), who was then assistant director of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., set out to make a checklist of all the world's mammal species. Thirty-four years later, that simple catalog had grown into the huge first edition of Mammals of the World, a book dedicated to all mammals, "who contribute so much to the welfare and happiness of man, another mammal, but receive so little in return, except blame, abuse, and extermination."

Now in its sixth edition and compiled in two volumes, the even larger Mammals of the World contains thorough descriptions of every genus of the class Mammalia known to have lived in the last 5,000 years: 28 orders, 146 families, 1,192 genera, and 4,809 separate species. Volume 1 opens with the monotremes (including echidnas and the duck-billed platypus), which, write Walker and his successor Ronald Nowak, "resemble reptiles and differ from all other mammals in that they lay shell-covered eggs that are incubated and hatched outside of the body of the mother." The first volume then moves on to cover the insectivores, including an astonishing variety of bats, and closes with primates and carnivores. Volume 2 comprises the pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), moves through the cetacea (dolphins, porpoises, and whales) and artiodactyls (deer and their kin), and closes with a huge roster of rodents. It also contains an extensive bibliography numbering some 6,000 items, making the set of inestimable importance to students and professionals.

Many of those mammal species, Nowak writes, are now in jeopardy. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists 2,078 threatened species, an increase of 1,661 species over its first list, published in 1987. At the same time, Nowak adds, the U.S. Department of Interior list has grown by only 17 species, for, he continues, "The USDI classification process has become hopelessly subject to delay and manipulation by bureaucratic, political, and commercial interests." He argues that much greater effort needs to be given to protecting these animal citizens everywhere in the world. The knowledge of them that this extraordinary compilation affords is a start. --Gregory McNamee


"Unlike many academic reference works, all editions [Walker's Mammals], the new one included, are as accessible to amateurs as to professionals... For wildlife enthusiasts, this two-volume set is an indispensable resource. The new edition not only updates taxonomic information generated in the last 10 years, it pushes back the historical record, including all mammals known to have existed in the past 5,000 years. Twenty-one new genera also appear, animals that have recently been discovered. Either volume is hefty enough to kill a small mammal if dropped―there's a total of 2,160 pages... And despite almost a decade between editions―the last edition appeared in 1991―the price has remained virtually the same, despite an increase in book size of more than 20 percent. After being exposed to this kind of thorough, detailed information saturation, many readers may find it hard to go back to a plain old encyclopedia for their animal questions."

(Bloomsbury Review)

"For anyone who needs an up-to-date, comprehensive guide to every known species of mammal, Walker's Mammals of the World is an essential purchase."

(Nicholas Gould International Zoo News)

"A massive compilation ideal for readers who want to have at their fingertips information on every mammal species."

(International Zoo News)

"An absolute treasure trove―a 'must' for the working naturalist as well as for any person who has curiosity about the world's mammals."

(Roger Tory Peterson)

Product details

  • Item Weight : 11.87 pounds
  • Hardcover : 2015 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780801857898
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0801857898
  • Publisher : Johns Hopkins University Press; 6th Edition (July 29, 1999)
  • Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 4.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Reading level : 18 and up
  • ASIN : 0801857899
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 20 ratings

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
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Top reviews from other countries

Philip G Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 10, 2015
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Anirban mura
2.0 out of 5 stars Got only one volume.but not volume 2
Reviewed in India on September 24, 2018
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