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Known for his ability to present complex scientific information clearly and entertainingly, Dethier introduces crickets, katydids, and grasshoppers (locusts), whose sounds, though familiar, are largely ignored by all but specialists. He writes of his experiences in the late 1930s, when as a graduate student he served as field assistant to the late George W. Pierce, famous for his work on insect sound production and detection. Dethier takes us on an informative and entertaining summer's tour of insects in the Franklin, New Hampshire area and acquaints us with their habits and songs. Not intended as an exhaustive treatment or field guide, his book does list important references of the past century and gives keys to species and their songs. Rorer's charming black-and-white drawings adorn the text. Admirers of Dethier's previous works, e.g., To Know a Fly (1962), will welcome his latest effort.
- Annette Aiello, Smithsonian Tropical Research Inst., Panama
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Richly written, elegantly organized, and beautifully illustrated with Abigail Rorer's graceful line drawings, this charming reminiscence succeeds on every level. It illuminates the habits of New England's 40 or so orthopteran insects and teaches us to appreciate their adaptations and variation. It reminds us to attend to the world around us; to listen to its jubilant songs, breathe in the 'winey evanescence' of fallen apples and savor the caress of cool air flowing from the fringes of a shady hardwood forest. It recalls the pleasures of being young, of finding new facts and seeing new patterns in the mosaic of nature, and captures the ineffable sensations of a fine New England summer.
--John R. Alden (Smithsonian Magazine)
This book is the product of Vincent Dethier's experiences studying the natural history and singing behavior of crickets and katydids. The book chronicles the emergence of orthopteran species over the summer season and their contributions to the chorus in fields and woods. The details of these insects' lives are fascinating, but I was even more impressed with the true theme of the book: the making of a scientist...This is a beautifully written natural history book.
--Elizabeth Braker (Ecology)
[This book] can be enjoyed by anyone with even a passing interest in crickets and their repertoires. Dethier's writing is beautiful, almost poetic.
--Jonathan Beard (New Scientist)