Arthur Cleveland Bent was one of the world's great ornithologists, and his 20 volume work, published between 1919-1958 (the latter volumes handled by Wendell Taber after Bent's death) has become a collector's item in its entirety. This is a careful selection and abridgment, containing full excerpts, not condensations, while omitting the technical data of plumage, distribution, field marks, and focussing on those qualities that give the individual birds distinction and a colorful personality. It is quite different from the field guides, with which it should be used for identification purposes. Flight, courtship, nests, eggs, feeding habits, differentiations between species, peculiarities such as type of migration -- these occur with varying emphasis. The whole makes extraordinarily good reading for the field man, and even for the amateur ornithologist.