Friday, November 7, 2008

I highly DO NOT recommend...

...the following book:

Elewa, Ashraf M. T. (ed.), 2008: Mass extinction. Springer

I like mass extinction events. Accordingly, this book catched my eye as I browsed through the shelves of our library. Back home, I started flipping some pages and reading here and there - awfull. Except for the guest authors articles, which are well done, this "book" appears to be cheap joke.
All of the editors articles (9 of 15) are short, badly written and not sufficiantly referenced. For example, the author refers constantly to wikipedia articles or cites for every occasion standard palaeo textbooks that are suited for undergraduate education. The chapters are filled with fuzzy standard statements and do not really help the reader to get into the topic. In fact, most wikipedia articles provide a more profound picture on certain aspects. For instance the chapter about the Permo-Triassic extinction event beggars all description. It barely covers 1.5 pages and provides very blurry general information without presenting any evidence or serious references. A fourth of the article is wasted for comparision of the PT-event with Agatha Christie's "Murder on the orient express".

Just one example from page 129:"One of the mysteries of the history of the Earth is the layer of clay that was deposited around the entire globe approximately 65.5 million years ago. It is also known as the K-T extinction event [...]."

Don't get me wrong - I really don't want to tease the editor, but this is just a very bad book that costs the unhappy purchaser 135 € (170 $). I am still wondering how this book came through the review at Springer. Perhaps they hoped to make some money because most library order books unseen.

Long story short: Please do not buy this book!

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