Whales & Dolphins ­ the Ultimate Guide to Marine Mammals by Mark Carwardine, Erich Hoyt, R Ewan Fordyce, Peter Gill
Whales & Dolphins ­ the Ultimate Guide to Marine Mammals by Mark Carwardine, Erich Hoyt, R Ewan Fordyce, Peter Gill

As you might expect from a Collins guide, the chapter devoted to the description and identification of whales is excellent, with most species illustrated by superb photographs, above and below the water.
However, only two of the eight chapters are devoted to this subject. So in some ways the title belies the content, for this book is much, much more than a field guide.
It covers a whole gamut of topics, from Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, to dolphin therapy, and it is packed with excellent colour photographs, maps and illustrations.
There are 75 pages devoted to whale- and dolphin-watching, which indicates just how popular and widespread it is. The book takes a responsible attitude, highlighting the strict regulations that many countries have brought in to limit how closely you can approach whales.
Throughout the book, controversial issues are well balanced. Scientific objectivity is tinted with the emotional attachment and concern the authors have for their subject.
This visually appealing book is a delight to thumb through, yet it is also packed with information for the serious reader.

Whales & Dolphins the Ultimate Guide to Marine Mammals by Mark Carwardine, Erich Hoyt, R Ewan Fordyce, Peter Gill, HarperCollins (0181 741 7070), hardback£18

Divernet