talk: Wildlife Books

talk: Wildlife Books

Welcome to talk: Wildlife Books. Not reviews as such, just an introduction to the wildlife books I have enjoyed reading. I will talk about both new, recently published, books and those that may have been around for years, but may not have hit your radar.


In this chapter, I talk about some of the many books written by pioneering Ornithologist David Lack. From the ground-breaking (and recently re-published) ‘The Life of the Robin‘ and ‘Darwin’s Finches‘, Lack lead the way in ornithological writing for over 3 decades.

In this chapter, I talk about one of my favourite books, ‘Old Fourlegs‘ by J. L. B. Smith; and ‘A fish caught in time’ by Samantha Weinberg. Two books, separated by 40 years, that tell the incredible story of the rediscovery of the Coelacanth.

In this chapter, I talk about ‘The Secret Life of the Fly’ by NHM London’s Senior Curator of Diptera Erica McAlister and ‘On the Margins’, the story of The Fen Raft Spiders of Redgrove and Lopham Fen, by Helen Smith and with excellent illustrations by Sheila Tilmouth.

Related interview – Life of Fly with Erica McAlister

In this chapter I discuss Heather Buttivant’sRock Pool‘. A book that invites you to participate in a walk through the tide zones.

In this chapter, I introduce Henry Walter Bates. One of the lesser known scientists of the Victorian Era, best known for his exploration of the Amazon and his description of mimicry in animals. Here I talk about his book ‘The Naturalist on the River Amazons‘ and ‘The Butterfly Hunter‘ a biography by Dr. Anthony Crawforth.

In this chapter, I introduce Charles Darwin’sOn the Origin of Species’ – often cited as “the most important biological book ever written”. I then bring it up-to-date with Steve Jones’s book ‘Almost like a Whale’.


In this chapter, I talk about Alfred Russel Wallace. First, I discuss his masterpiece ‘The Malay Archipelago‘ and then there’s a brief introduction to ‘A Life’ by Peter Raby – in my opinion the best biography about Wallace.