Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library: Essays & Plates

Tom Baione, Editor
Edited by Tom Baione. Sterling Signature, $50 boxed trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-1-4027-9149-9
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
Hardcover - 163 pages - 978-1-4549-1214-9
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Digging deep into the American Museum of Natural History's Research Museum (of which he is the director), Baione and assorted essayists offer up a truly stunning collection of rare prints covering a litany of topics. Whether readers choose to focus on the 40 prints just begging for frames that are included in the box or the often breathtaking images in the book itself, they'll quickly find themselves sucked into this fantastically assembled and informative work of natural and human history. The essays focus primarily on the work of pioneering illustrators and their areas of interest (mollusks, fish, birds, Native Americans, Egyptology), offering exponential insight into the intricacies of plumage, biology, and etymology. Each profile is equal parts text and images, making for an immersive experience. The essays are brief—short biographies allowing for little more than a timeline and quick summation of key works or scientific contributions. But armchair naturalists, archeologists, and anthropologists will have a field day with this lovingly curated collection. Remarkable for its editing as well as its breadth of scope (even the binding of Victorian natural history books is studied), this gem of a book is one of the best in its class. (Nov.)
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