cloth, 203 p., $24.95
Readers will be astonished at how much they really need to know about the group of Prosopis species commonly known as mesquite. The backyard barbecue cook who has used mesquite chips to flavor his dinner will be wide-eyed at the uses of these trees to halt erosion and desertification in lands where human survival prospects are measured in days, not centuries. Food, fuel and works of art all come from this genus of plants that are often the bane of ranchers and farmers. Pests and diseases get a thorough treatment; the impact on water in an ecosystem with mesquite as a component is thought-provoking. The photographs, of trees and wood objects and their makers, and illustrations of harmful insects are delightfully instructive. This is a book you didn't know that you wanted to read, but you will be glad you did.
— John F. Swenson, Volunteer, Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden