paper, 192 p., $49.95
Everyone who has looked in wonder at the beauty and complexity of living plants, whether botanist or fascinated observer, will appreciate the splendid achievement of Bryan Bowes and his colleagues in presenting a methodical, detailed and illustrated view of how plants are put together and function. This book is the American edition of a 1996 British imprint that already has won extensive recognition for its masterful elucidation of plant structures and processes. This is a work for serious students as well as the casual inquirer. Many of the illustrations are works of art in their own right, accompanied by a text written by a scientist with a poet's heart. In his dedication, the author acknowledges family members and quotes the famous remarks of Chief Seathl (Seattle bears his name):
"How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people."
Such reverence for life does not surprise those who live in intimate relationships with plants, such as the author and readers of this book. For an excellent explanation of the workings of plants, with fine illustrations, you will need nothing more than this book.
— John F. Swenson, Volunteer, Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden