on April 14, 2002
As far as biology books go, this book is gigantic, in terms of size, information content, and price. The information contained in the book is definitely well presented (lots of nice diagrams and picture, all of which are very clear) and up-to-date. There are references to events which have occured as recently as a couple years ago. Also nice is the historical context; I've never really seen a biology book that says "this process was discovered by Dr. so-and-so, from so-and-so University/Institute of Technology, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in so-and-so year." It doesn't add a whole lot to the book, except that it adds a human dimension to the otherwise boring (sorry to any biologists who are reading this review) subject of biology.
on December 1, 2007
An undergraduate, freshman level biology class I took used this as its textbook. It is thorough and detailed, packed with information on a broad range of biological topics, written in a highly accessible manner that requires no special training to understand. It covers such topics as the cell, heredity, evolution, plants, animals, and ecology. It's not quite as well written as the finest textbooks I've read, such as Alberts' Molecular Biology of the Cell or Kandel's Principles of Neural Science, but it's well written nonetheless. Anyone interested in the subject of biology should give this a read. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health.
on January 21, 2002
Purves et al do a great job balancing the concept of an introductory text with the true complexities of biological systems. Although some of the text is intimidating, I found that it was easy to abstract the salient points from the chapters I was not enamored of, and the book offers sufficient depth for a more thorough exploration of the chapters that did interest me further. This is a very rare trait for most intro texts -- usually I find that if I'm interested in further study, I must do quite a bit of research to do so. This book makes it much easier to delve deeper into those topics that do intrigue the reader.
on April 9, 2001
In reviewing this text for possible adoption, I have come to the opposite opinion from other reviewers. I found the book to be written mostly for the faculty and not for the students. It is filled with details totally unnecessary at an introductory level and which will serve only to confuse the students. This is particularly true of the section on evolution and classification which seems to follow every fad and goes so quickly that few will be able to keep up. The beautiful overall picture is totally lost. Although there are fewer pages (a good thing) they have achieved this partly by reducing the size of the print, making the text more difficult to read. The figures are great, but this does not make up for the basic defects in the book.