Extraordinary Differences Between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom
Author: Daphne J. Fairbairn
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: April 28, 2013
I think the problem with this book is that it is a scientific paper trying to be a commercial book with wide mainstream appeal. As a result, it's neither. The author acknowledges that she tried to reach a broader audience by limiting the scientific jargon--which resulted in over a hundred pages of notes, appendices, glossaries and charts in the back of the book--but she doesn't seem to understand what she could have added to the book to give it more lay appeal. There
It's not that I couldn't follow along with the science of the book. My first year as an undergraduate was spent as a biology major. So I have some background. Some, but not a lot (as you may have guessed, I switched majors pretty early on). But the thing is, am I the target audience? I felt like anyone with less knowledge of biology would be lost (I was straining at times) and anyone with more (like a biologist) would find the book too "dumbed down." As for me, I was a little bored. I really wanted the glossy pictures of the male and female elephant seals or some high-res shots of those "female tubeworms with harems of minuscule males" I was so excited about.
Just know what you're getting into. I'm not saying the book is terrible. But it is NOT a coffee table book, if that's what you're hoping for.
*UPDATE: I was contacted by the author who assured me that the finished book does, in fact, contain full colour photos. She even sent me a few to look at. It really does make a big difference. It's always hard to know which things will be different in the final copy of a book, compared to the advanced digital galley, but I really wish the galley had better indicated what the photo spread would be like. I do, however, stand by my initial assessment of the tone of the book. But photos help a lot.
**UPDATE UPDATE: The author had her publisher send me a finished print copy of the book. While that was very nice of her, it didn't make that big a difference. There are fewer pictures than I thought there'd be (STILL!) and they're mostly of the walruses. Meh. I'm thinking it'll be a future giveaway or else I'll donate it to my library.