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Life: The Science of Biology Volume III: Plants and Animals Paperback – Jan 2004
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About the Author
DAVID SADAVA, Claremont Colleges, USA H. CRAIG HELLER, Stanford University, USA GORDAN H. ORIANS, University of Washington, USA WILLIAM K. PURVES, Harvey Mudd College, USA DAVID HILLIS, University of Texas, USA --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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"Life: The Science of Biology" has definitely been one of the better biology textbooks I've used. The text is well written, with clear explanations and plenty of real-life examples to help you tie small details into the bigger picture. But beware: The information here is incredibly in-depth, so if you're only looking for a basic overview of biology, you may actually want a slightly simpler book, otherwise you may get lost in all the details. It was perfect for my 200-level class, and gave me all the information I needed, but I don't think it would be the ideal text for an introductory biology course. One other reviewer here mentioned that she used this text to teach her AP biology students. I took AP biology in high school (and got a 5 on the exam) and can guarantee you that this text contains far, far more than you would ever need to know to get a perfect score. It's definitely a college level text.
The book has numerous detailed, well-labeled diagrams that are helpful in understanding different processes. In fact, being a rather visual, hands-on learner, I sometimes found the step-by-step diagrams easier to follow than the text itself. There are also plenty of great photographs and other helpful images. At the end of each chapter there is a bare-bones overview of key points you should know, and a self-quiz to help you evaluate your grasp of the material. At the end of the book there is an extensive glossary with definitions of key terms.
Unfortunately, there is one mistake in this book, to be found in chapter 34, "Deuterostomate Animals." On page 674, some text from the previous page is repeated, and this in turn means that part of the section entitled "Primates and the Origin of Humans" is cut off, even ending in mid-sentence. The following page is filled entirely with pictures and diagrams, no text, and then on page 676 where the text starts up again, it skips to the beginning of the next section, entirely leaving out a chunk of information. This is the only place in the book where I found such a problem.
There is a website to accompany this text ([...] I never found it necessary to use the site for my studies, but it may be helpful for some. It contains chapter summaries, animated tutorials, text-related activities, self quizzes, suggestions for further reading, and a glossary of key terms (same as the one found at the back of the book). The book is also supposed to come with a CD-ROM. My school's bookstore was selling the books and CDs separately, and I did not purchase the CD and so cannot evaluate its usefulness. I know I learned everything I needed without it, and I suspect the book and website alone would be sufficient for most students' needs.
Aside from the glitch in chapter 34, mentioned above, I have found nothing to complain about with this book. I will definitely be hanging on to it for future reference, and highly recommend it to anyone needing a detailed, comprehensive biology text. NOTE: This review refers to the 7th edition of this book.
This 9th edition was the required book for the two-semester bio sequence at the east campus Valencia Community College. The other campuses use Campbell, and to compare the two books side by side for any topic is enough to make you cry at spending so much for this one.
I bought a used copy of Campbell (one edition prior to current) because I looked at a copy and it was SO much easier to understand. It's better organized, more clearly written, uses helpful transitions to tie topics together and to review earlier topics before going on, and the pictures are SO much clearer in Campbell!
Every time I read the Sadava material, I felt confused. Then I'd read the same section in Campbell and would totally understand! I feel that using Campbell is the single reason that I have scored far above anyone else in my class on every assignment and test the entire semester.
If I were selecting a biology book to be used in a class I was teaching, I literally cannot imagine looking at both Campbell and Sadava and choosing Sadava.
NOW, in regards to buying the book. This is a rare occasion in which the Amazon price is much higher than what you can find in a campus bookstore. I bought the textbook and BioPortal for $110 from my university, which usually gouges you as much as they can. Not sure why it's almost $200 here. Check your bookstores first before buying from here. You can also buy just BioPortal (which remember has the full text. In fact, I've used that more than the actual book) for $88 from the publisher's site. Look at both of those options before buying from here.
This is not one of those textbooks that is blandly written and boring to read. Instead, it is fascinating, compelling, clear, and very well organized, and I really enjoy learning from this book.
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