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Vietnam: A Natural History [Hardcover]

Eleanor Jane Sterling , Martha Maud Hurley , Le Duc Minh , Joyce A. Powzyk

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Book Description

June 11 2006
A country uncommonly rich in plants, animals, and natural habitats, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam shelters a significant portion of the world’s biological diversity, including rare and unique organisms and an unusual mixture of tropical and temperate species. This book is the first comprehensive account of Vietnam’s natural history in English. Illustrated with maps, photographs, and thirty-five original watercolor illustrations, the book offers a complete tour of the country’s plants and animals along with a full discussion of the factors shaping their evolution and distribution.

Separate chapters focus on northern, central, and southern Vietnam, regions that encompass tropics, subtropics, mountains, lowlands, wetland and river regions, delta and coastal areas, and offshore islands. The authors provide detailed descriptions of key natural areas to visit, where a traveler might explore limestone caves or glimpse some of the country’s twenty-seven monkey and ape species and more than 850 bird species. The book also explores the long history of humans in the country, including the impact of the Vietnam-American War on plants and animals, and describes current efforts to conserve Vietnam’s complex, fragile, and widely threatened biodiversity.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1 edition (June 11 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300106084
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300106084
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1 Kg
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,273,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This single volume presents the entire geograpy, geology, and natural history of Vietnam in lively, accessible language, making it the perfect companion for any visitor to Vietnam, with excellent and thorough information on the incredibly rich natural resources of the country, covering everything from orchids to monkeys. Species descriptions, of both flora and fauna, are well-written and engaging, and followed by short sections indicating where to find them. The accompanying illustrations are good, but too few; often many words are used to describe an animal, where a good picture would do a better and more useful job. The authors give an overview of conservation and environmental history that brings to bear the political legacy of the country. . The diversity and fragility of Vietnam's natural history is stunning, and this book does an admirable job of celebrating that wealth, while clearly delineating what threatens it, including unexploded mines and poachers. For nature lovers travelling to Vietnam, this guide is a must-have.
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"Everyone knows the Amazon and the Serengeti, but who knows the Annamites and the Red River Delta? This book opens the door to a new ‘lost’ world."—Barney Long, World Wildlife Fund Greater Mekong—Vietnam Programme       

(Barney Long)

"Elegant, authoritative and full of surprises, Vietnam: A Natural History does not simply do justice to a neglected subject. It establishes Vietnam's living environment as one of quite exceptional interest and, as a survey, it sets a new standard in the interpretation and presentation of a country's fauna and flora. Quite outstanding."—John Keay, author of Mad About the Mekong: Exploration and Empire in South East Asia   

(John Keay)

"Long shrouded by a veil of politics, Vietnam and its magnificent biodiversity are revealed in this exciting new natural history volume. From cycads to pangolins, Vietnam: A Natural History is required reading for all tropical biologists as well as for natural history enthusiasts."—Margaret Lowman, author of It's a Jungle Up There 

(Margaret Lowman)

"A most welcome addition to the natural history reference material for South East Asia."—Noble Proctor, ornithologist

(Noble Proctor)

"A clear, well written survey of the fauna and flora of Southeast Asia as manifested in Vietnam, especially useful for those with scant experience of a region rich in habitats and species."—Peter Matthiessen, author of The Snow Leopard

(Peter Matthiessen)

"This book does a fine job of describing the biodiversity of Vietnam, and an even better job of documenting the threats to biodiversity and the opportunities for conservation."—Phan Ke Loc, Hanoi University of  Science

(Phan Ke Loc)

"Vietnam: A Natural History unlocks the door to the fascinating geological, biological, and cultural diversity of a remarkable region of the world. This comprehensive but highly readable volume will be welcomed not only by conservation biologists and ecologists but by the merely curious as well."—Philip Rundel, University of California, Los Angeles

(Philip Rundel)

"Long shrouded in mystery and inaccessible for more than half a century, Vietnam's natural history is presented brilliantly in this stunning and exciting new volume. A must for every naturalist, tourist, and conservationist."—Thomas E. Lovejoy, President, The Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment

(Thomas E. Lovejoy)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful explanation of species diversity June 30 2008
By J. S. Pompy - Published on
Authors clearly have a wonderful understanding of the science that explains continent formation, species dispersion, and Vietnam's diverse environment. Recommended read for any naturalist or scientist who plans to visit Vietnam and wants a quick but accurate overview that explains the origins of Vietnam's environment as it exists today. Read it! You will understand what you see! I have visited Vietnam 12 times and have been everywhere north to south, but I learned more of the country's origins from reading this book than in all my wonderful adventures. My thanks to the authors for the love of Vietnam reflected in this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough Investigation of Wildlife of Vietnam Dec 16 2012
By 'The Invisible Man' - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When people (especially Americans) hear 'Vietnam', images of the Vietnam War- images of horror, destruction, &grief flood their mind(if one is old enough to remember & care).
This superb Natural History of this country, carpet bombed; still reaking of cordite, napalm,
and 'Angent Orange', goes where none have gone before to set out catalouging the richness
of flaura and fauna that somehow survived thirty plus years of war and a population explosion. (Before it all disappears forever).
This is not some 'dry' academic treatise, but instead an extremely readable inventory of Vietnamese wildlife before it's gone......
Highly recommended......
0 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed Oct. 25 2008
By Walter Smith - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While this book gives a good deal of information on the reginal animal and plant life, it is lacking the human history. How did this country come to be?

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