304 pages, 130 col photos, b/w illus throughout
Well illustrated in both photographs and illustrations, this book is an introductory guide to the splendid plant and animal life of this great continent. It covers, amongst other subjects, the Gondwana legacy (continental drift, plate tectonics and the Wallace Line), the first Australians, the Great Barrier Reef (venemous sea creatures, sharks, and exotic fishes), and Australia's birds and mammals.
I urge anyone visiting Australia with a modicum of interest in its plants and animals to buy this book. It is a bargain and a natural history treasure. -Robert C. Cashner, University of New Orleans, in OHIO JOURNAL OF SCIENCE (2000) A combination of tourist guidebook and primer of Austalian natural history. This book serves several functions and serves them well. First, it arms the uninitiated visitor to Australia with a brief synopsis of the most conspicuous and famous Australian animals and plants and puts them in their proper historical and geographic context. Second, it provides visiting specialists with a broad perspective of Australian natural history against which to silhouette their more detailed knowledge and allows them to branch out and learn something of other Australian taxa. Third, the volume informs the visitor about various aspects of Australian life, thereby enhancing the pleasure of the Australian experience. Finally, the glossary of Australian slang will enable you, the visitor, to understand what the Aussies are saying to you or about you. --Harold Heatwolf in COPEIA (1999) Berra's nifty volume is written for the educated nonscientist and succintly summarizes the natural history of Australia in an engaging and literate style. Properly, the origin and culture of Aborigines occupies a prominent chapter with no attempt made to gloss over the current friction regarding native title. Isolation and aridity have influenced the biota of Australia, and the author selects the more prominent examples of plants and animals to focus on the peculiarities and adaptations these species exhibit. There are continual references to the danger of humans interfering with native fauna, plus suggestions for treatment of injuries resulting from such interference. Frequent maps and photographs. A work of value to anyone eager to learn more about Australia. --CHOICE This is a well-illustrated, attractive, and enjoyable book. The author clearly fell in love with Australia in his youth; he has spent some years working there, has travelled much of it, and photographed a good deal of it; a selection of his photographs complements a very readable text. The book is wisely titled 'A' natural history: its 10 chapters provide 10 tastes of Australia, from European discovery and current economic geography, the 'Gondwana legacy', the 'First Australians', to chapters on botany, marine biology, terrestrial invertebrates, and the four popular divisions of vertebrates. This is a good introduction to Australian natural history for the biologist with absolutely no prior information on the topic. ...it's worth a read: Quantas should stock it in all U.S. departure lounges. --JOURNAL OF NATURAL HISTORY Tim M. Berra set out to explain how flora and fauna have been shaped by the isolation and aridity of the continent. The book is aimed at the interested visitor, incorporating a geography of Australia and useful information for the traveller. --NATURE Astounding full color pictures leap out of each page in this marvelous history of Australia. Tim Berra goes into enough detail to please the more discerning readers of natural history while remaining accessible to readers curious about Australia. His references are extensive and detailed, and more important, suggest further reading for those interested in learning more. --EDITOR'S CHOICE REVIEW SERVICE Lively to read and gorgeous to look at... Illustrated with drawings and with photographs taken by the author, the book is a pleasure just to hold in one's hands... This book might be a good thing to have on hand the next time you watch a Crocodile Dundee movie. --MANSFIELD NEWS JOURNAL Tim Berra has produced a book that has contributed significantly to the natural history of Australia... His writing style is informal and easy to read, making this book a welcome addition to the bookshelves of student, specialist, naturalist or anyone with an interest in Australia's natural history... Even a person who has a good knowledge of some of the topics could not fail to be impressed by this beautifully-presented and well-written book which covers such a vast range of topics so well. A book that should be on all Naturalist Club's library shelves. This book is for anyone who visits this country and has a natural history interest. Even someone like me who has lived here all her life can learn much from A Natural History of Australia. --Cecily Falkingham in THE VICTORIAN NATURALIST ..An intelligent, well-written, informative, quirky, and entertaining book detailing the natural history of Australia... Filled with his own glorious pictures, Berra's book is valuable both for the serious student and keen amateur. --SUN HERALD - SUNDAY LIFE This publication offers an easy-to-read and well-illustrated description of the biology of Australia. It is a well-written account with excellent colour photographs together with drawings and distribution maps... It would make an ideal gift for a visitor to our shores who wishes to understand the biology of Australia in more detail than that provided by tourist literature... an attractive publication... I feel confident it will be enjoyed by all who have a fascination for our rich and precious biological heritage. --Carrick Chambers in NATIONAL PARKS JOURNAL ...a book to treasure, and will appeal both to Australians and visitors wanting a record of Australia's unique wildlife and environment. --AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY FOR FISH BIOLOGY NEWSLETTER A comprehensive, highly readable reference guide, A Natural History of Australia includes all these facts and other fascinating information about Australia's flora and fauna. --THE TULANIAN
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