Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in Review of Observations of Wildlife by Peter Scott (Phaidon, 1980). Johnsgard in the Auk (April 1981) v. 98. Copyright 1981, University of California and the American Ornithological Union. Used by permission.


Nearly everybody has a childhood hero, but only rarely do those heros survive the test of time to stand even taller in the mind's eye when approaching a halfcentury of one's own lifetime. Sir Peter Scott is a man of such stuff; his enormous artistic abilities and capacity for converting those talents into the environmental education of several generations of Britons, and toward the conservation of the earth's natural resources, cause him to stand uniquely alone in the international environmental scene. His book is an informal retrospective look at his own life, his artwork, and his concerns for conservation and biology. It is also a perfect vehicle for his drawings and paintings, which range from quick pen sketches in his field diary (which must be the most beautiful scientific notebook in existence) to reproductions of formal oil paintings as large as 3 m across. It is this lagniappe of illustrations that catches the eye initially, arid will be the reason for many to buy the book. Nevertheless, the text should not be ignored while savoring the beauty of the plates.

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