Leonard Hill, Author Universe Publishing(NY) $75 (0p) ISBN 978-0-88363-595-7
Hill, a marine biologist and authority on shells, has teamed with nature photographer Pete Carmichael to produce this exquisitely lovely survey of the world's shells, combining hundreds of spectacular color photographs, many taken underwater, with a richly informative text. Beginning with mollusks' evolution from flat worms more than 600 million years ago, they explore the genetics of shell coloration and patterning, shell architecture, the biology and reproduction of mollusks. Special sections are devoted to a history of shell collecting; freshwater mussels of U.S. rivers and their close association with fish; shell money ranging from the Solomon Islands to Native American wampum; and pearls. Along with astonishing photos of exotic specimens, there are many examples of shells used in art, ritual and everyday life, for example, Victorian thimble-holders made from cut nautilus, an Ethiopian dance belt, the sacred chank shell of India, blown as a trumpet to drive away evil spirits, or 19th-century sailor's valentines, octagonal, glass-covered shell mosaics bought in foreign ports by American sailors and whalers for sweethearts back home. This book will delight shell collectors and prove to be a revelation for the general reader. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
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