SURVIVAL UNDER THE SUN by Lewis Wayne Walker


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Every bit as arid as Pond's Survival in Sun and Sand (1969) despite the supposedly mitigating but actually off-putting large-size/large-type form and uninviting desert-scapes. Whereas Pond's style is idiosyncratically uneven, Mr. Walker's is needlessly dense: notwithstanding the very real barrier of jargon (both verbal and conceptual), even the non-technical vocabulary and especially the syntax are discouragingly obfuscatory. On how biological adaptation reflects the parallel-evolution motif -- for a mild example -- ""It is as though the world were ringed with latitudinal bands creating a similarity of plants and animals best fitting the regions in which they live."" The text is clearer when elucidating the survival techniques of specific plants and animals, but where it is not thus confined to particulars it becomes still more abstruse -- as on matters of meteorology, which are pivotal to the notion of desert as a ""weather-created area."" For general purposes and general-science students, Pond's is a broader and less plodding view cataloguing equally remarkable life-styles, and including a distinctive chapter on the somato-psychological differences between men in the desert and men of the desert. Walker, however, manifests a demonstrable if mechanical ecological sensitivity and his book too is intelligent if not always easily intelligible. The two do overlap with this stressing individual species and the Pond providing the better introduction unhampered by a puerile appearance.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1971
Publisher: Doubleday