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The Galapagos Islands: The Essential Handbook for Exploring, Enjoying & Understanding Darwin’s Enchanted Islands, Marylee Stephenson, The Mountaineers, 1989, ISBN 0-89886-225-6, $12.95, 160pp.

The subtitle gives you an indication that this is not exactly a reading experience, but a guidebook during your actually sojourn. While it contains some useful pre-trip information, Stephenson concentrates on detailing the flora and fauna that are on each island, and their approximate locations, in a format that is almost like a checklist (or, for the birders out there, a lifelist). Stephenson is knowledgeable, and her information accurate as far as I can tell, but there’s really no savoir faire here, and there’s the rub. If I had only this to base my foreknowledge of the islands, I’m not so sure I’d be so excited about going. Luckily, there’s other books that are better at capturing the uniqueness of the islands and their place in history and our world today.

[Finished February 1997]


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