Cruickshank's Photographs of Birds of America. By Alan D. Cruickshank. Constable, London, 1978. ix + 182 pages; 177 blackand-white photographs. Paperback, £4.25.
This is primarily a set of very fine black-and-white photographs by the late Alan D. Cruickshank, selected and prefaced by his wife Helen G. Cruickshank. The introduction is his, previously included, together with some of the photographs, in Wings in the Wilderness (1947). There are, however, 75 new photographs in this attractive volume. On first handling, one immediately gets the impression of a high-quality, glossy publication; although a paperback, it is well bound and opens flat. The 177 photographs depict 150 species on 182 pages: almost one photograph to a page; some are bled right to the edge, giving variety of layout to correspond with the large variety of species portrayed. The subjects are beautifully shown, at a good size, and the quality of the reproductions is excellent: this book is a 'must' for any keen photographer; it is only very slightly marred by one plate (the Verdin in plate 152) being reproduced on its side. The order of species is that of the American Ornithologists' Union. Each plate is accompanied by a very brief text written by the photographer himself, giving general facts concerning the species and a few personal points of his experiences with it. This photographic publication does not aim to be and is not a comprehensive collection of portraits of the birds of America. The photographs, however, represent the work of a dedicated naturalist over a lifetime; although many of them are over 30 years old, most would be difficult to better in monochrome even today.