Pros: Amazing and breath taking color photos. The photographs are also incredibly interesting.
Cons: Not hard bound, not wide enough.
"When a pride of young lions ganged up on a defenseless juvenile hippo in Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve, they taunted him all morning, taking turns to leap onto his back and rip into his flesh. He wearily tried to ward them off, as white tears of fear and pain streamed down his face." This quote is taken from page 13 in the introduction. The Lions did not eat this hippo. To them it was just a game. Mark Twain was wrong. Humans do not have the monopoly on gratuitous violence.
Steve Bloom is a renowned wild life photographer. In this book he has collected his most dramatic and amazing wild life color photographs from all over the world. For example, a great white shark that is jumping out of the water to snatch a seal in mid air, grizzly bears catching jumping salmon in the air, lions torturing a baby hippo, hippos fighting, elephants fighting, zebras fighting, polar bears fighting, and tigers fighting in the snow. Many of the photographs include amazing scenery, for example, the photo of the penguin standing alone on the Antarctic ice shelf surrounded by amazing glistening ice formations scattered across an endless and beautiful ice landscape. Many of the photographs capture the feelings and perhaps the thoughts of animals, for example, the photograph of the chimpanzee thoughtfully studying the rain drops splattering in its hand.
The photographs are of extremely high quality and of high resolution. For example, in the photograph of the bald eagle flying over the mountain tops you could see the details of the hairs on the feathers. You can see the details of the eyes and the facial expressions of the animals as well as the details of the majestic landscapes in the background. Most photographs cover two full pages, however, some of the photographs are fold outs which spans four pages.
The book begins with an introduction in which he describes what he went through to take these photographs and what he wants to show us with them. The book is divided into four chapters, Africa, Antarctica, Eurasia, and Americas; however, he included some photos from Australia in the Eurasia chapter. Each chapter contained a one page introduction which mentioned something about his trip and explained a few of the photographs. At the end of the book he lists all 201 photographs as thumbnails accompanied by a brief explanation of what the photograph depicts. However, this book really does not need much text. For this book the old cliché holds true "a picture says more than a thousand words".
Steven Bloom is capturing the beauty of nature and the drama that happens in the wild. He is also capturing the suffering, the cruelty, as well as tenderness and compassion. When you look at these photographs you are reminded how beautiful our world is but you also realize that with that beauty comes the great pain and suffering that we are all part of, and all inflict upon each other, animals as well as humans. Irregardless of our brain size we all exist in and experience the same cruel and beautiful world. Every one of these photos could be the center piece of a National Geographic issue. These photographs are both breath taking and intriguing.
The only complaint I have about this book is that it should have been wider and taller and it should have been a hard back. As it is, these incredible photos do not have the home they deserve. However, I still highly recommend this book.
I would also like to enter this review into the lean-n-mean write off.