Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage

( 6 )

Overview

Nature has perfected the art of deception. Thousands of creatures all over the world — including butterflies, moths, fish, birds, insects and snakes — have honed their skills of camouflage over hundreds of millions of years. Imitating other animals to their surroundings, nature's fakers use mimicry to protect themselves, to attract and repel, to bluff and warn, to forage, and to hide. The advantages of mimicry are obvious — but how does 'blind' nature do it? And how has humanity...

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Dazzled and Deceived

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Overview

Nature has perfected the art of deception. Thousands of creatures all over the world — including butterflies, moths, fish, birds, insects and snakes — have honed their skills of camouflage over hundreds of millions of years. Imitating other animals to their surroundings, nature's fakers use mimicry to protect themselves, to attract and repel, to bluff and warn, to forage, and to hide. The advantages of mimicry are obvious — but how does 'blind' nature do it? And how has humanity learned to profit from nature's ploys?

Dazzled and Deceived tells the unique and fascinating story of mimicry and camouflage in science, art, warfare and the natural world. Discovered in the 1850s by the young English naturalists Henry Walter Bates and Alfred Russel Wallace in the Amazonian rainforest, the phenomenon of mimicry was seized upon as the first independent validation of Darwin's theory of natural selection. But mimicry and camouflage also had a huge impact outside the laboratory walls. Peter Forbes's cultural history links mimicry and camouflage to art, literature, military tactics and medical cures across the twentieth century, and charts its intricate involvement with the perennial dispute between evolution and creationism.

As Dazzled and Deceived unravels the concept of mimicry, Forbes introduces colourful stories and a dazzling cast of characters — Picasso, Roosevelt, Nabokov, Churchill and Darwin himself, to name a few — whom its mystery influenced and enthralled. Illuminating and lively, Dazzled and Deceived sheds new light on the greatest quest: to understand the processes of life at its deepest level.

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Editorial Reviews

Nature
"In this excellent and wide-ranging book, Forbes makes the hidden histories of science recognisable"— Leena Lindstrom, Nature
— Leena Lindstrom
Popular Science
This is a fascinating exploration of the use of visual trickery to disguise the nature of objects both in the living world and in the military…Overall a wonderful topic that really hasn’t been given enough coverage, especially given its importance in understanding the mechanisms of evolution better, and an excellent book. Highly recommended.( Brian Clegg, Popular Science

— Brian Clegg)

Financial Times
"As a military historian I have had to ditch many boyhood passions, but fortunately the study of camouflage mixes nature with military history and art, and Peter Forbes does full justice to this fascinating combination in Dazzled and Deceived … [He] tells brilliantly this exciting and colourful story with good anecdotes, bizarre characters and intriguing evidence." — Tim Neward, Financial Times
— Tim Neward
American Scientist

"Dazzled and Deceived tells a fine story. It is a delight . . . I unhesitatingly recommend the book to both scientists and nonscientists."--Steven Vogel, American Scientist

— Steven Vogel

Popular Science

"This is a fascinating exploration of the use of visual trickery to disguise the nature of objects both in the living world and in the military…Overall a wonderful topic that really hasn’t been given enough coverage, especially given its importance in understanding the mechanisms of evolution better, and an excellent book. Highly recommended." — Brian Clegg, Popular Science

— Brian Clegg

BioScience

"Forbes has succeeded in producing a book with a novel perspective on an oft-visited topic. . . . Dazzled and Deceived will prove an engrossing narrative of evolutionary biology as exemplified through the colors of animals, a topic that captivated the founders of the field and remains at the forward edge of genetics, evolution, and development today."—Edmund D. Brodie III, BioScience

— Edmund D. Brodie III

Christopher Potter
"Dazzled and Deceived is surely destined to become a classic. Peter Forbes has written a compelling and fascinating history of mimicry and camouflage; but, much more than that, he persuades us that mimicry is at the heart of the story of evolution. He has found an exciting and novel way of presenting this ever-intractable story, and raises important questions which the theory of evolution has hardly begun to answer."—Christopher Potter, author of You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe
Michael Ruse
"It is a long time since I read a book that gave me so much enjoyment and told me so much both about the animal world and about human ingenuity. This is a wonderful story, engagingly told." - Michael Ruse, author of Darwin and its Discontents
Sean B Carroll
"From the great battle of life in nature to the great battlefields of human conflict, mimicry is one of the oldest and most effective tricks in all warfare. In this fascinating synthesis of science, art and history, Peter Forbes chronicles the marvellous and ingenious devices that evolution has produced and humans have designed to deceive foes. Dazzled and Deceived is a delightful journey into our growing understanding of how life imitates art." - Sean B. Carroll, author of Remarkable Creatures and The Making of the Fittest
Nature - Leena Lindstrom
"In this excellent and wide-ranging book, Forbes makes the hidden histories of science recognisable"— Leena Lindstrom, Nature
Popular Science - Brian Clegg
"This is a fascinating exploration of the use of visual trickery to disguise the nature of objects both in the living world and in the military…Overall a wonderful topic that really hasn’t been given enough coverage, especially given its importance in understanding the mechanisms of evolution better, and an excellent book. Highly recommended." — Brian Clegg, Popular Science
Financial Times - Tim Neward
"As a military historian I have had to ditch many boyhood passions, but fortunately the study of camouflage mixes nature with military history and art, and Peter Forbes does full justice to this fascinating combination in Dazzled and Deceived … [He] tells brilliantly this exciting and colourful story with good anecdotes, bizarre characters and intriguing evidence." — Tim Neward, Financial Times
American Scientist - Steven Vogel
"Dazzled and Deceived tells a fine story. It is a delight . . . I unhesitatingly recommend the book to both scientists and nonscientists."—Steven Vogel, American Scientist
BioScience - Edmund D. Brodie III
"Forbes has succeeded in producing a book with a novel perspective on an oft-visited topic. . . . Dazzled and Deceived will prove an engrossing narrative of evolutionary biology as exemplified through the colors of animals, a topic that captivated the founders of the field and remains at the forward edge of genetics, evolution, and development today."—Edmund D. Brodie III, BioScience
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300178968
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2011
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Forbes is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Strongpanther

    Always watching... hehehe

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Splashclaw

    They cant! Stay in the nursery and i will defend you. You know what i can do. Just come with me! Whatever you do, dont leave!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    Bluewillow

    The books switched

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    Blackpaw

    Weeeeeeeeeee

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