BOOK REVIEWS

Sea Cows, Shamans, and Scurvy: Alaska's First Naturalist: Georg Wilhelm Steller Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-12-16 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 3 user ratings
ISBN:0374399476
LANGUAGE:English

" A touch on the rambling side, but overall an interesting account of science at all costs. " said.

"This was a very interesting and informative read, although I do have some issues with it. It is listed as a young adult book, but the notes are so extensive that I cannot imagine many young people reading them. Some of that information could have been incorporated into the life story. Still, good to read as truth is stranger than fiction. Just as an aside - I put this and all books away for a few weeks while I was traveling, but while reading the notes long after the main story did not need to go back to the life story." said.

"Sooner or later, Hollywood will discover Georg Stoeller and scientific biopics will then supplant comic-book retreads in summertime cinema. I hope. So here's your chance to be the cool one who knew the story before the movie.

Arnold's brief YA biography makes use of information that has become available in recent decades, making this a valuable addition to the tiny Steller section of your local library. My own young-reader's-Steller-shelf holds only two earlier biographies: Steller of the North, by Ann and Myron Sutton (1961) and Touched with Fire (1960, winner of the Thomas Alva Edison Foundation Children's Book Award). The two earlier books make more of Steller's prickly personality in his conflicts with Bering and his Russian officers than Arnold does; Sea Cows, Shamans, and Scurvy focuses more on Steller's accomplishments as a scientist than on the personal heroism that the other books highlight. All three clearly portray a man who should be more widely known and revered.

I personally like the way this book is arranged: the biography sticks to Steller's life, while the extensive notes fill out the context. There is much important information in the notes section (it takes up a large portion of the book), but it is tangential to the narrative and putting it in a separate section seems appropriate to me. Readers who usually skip the notes may miss out on some good stuff here. One weakness, as another reviewer indicates, is that the maps are odd and sketchy. The geography of Siberia and the Bering Sea are not likely familiar to every reader, and a good overall endpaper map would have been nice.
" said.

" A touch on the rambling side, but overall an interesting account of science at all costs. " said.

"This was a very interesting and informative read, although I do have some issues with it. It is listed as a young adult book, but the notes are so extensive that I cannot imagine many young people reading them. Some of that information could have been incorporated into the life story. Still, good to read as truth is stranger than fiction. Just as an aside - I put this and all books away for a few weeks while I was traveling, but while reading the notes long after the main story did not need to go back to the life story." said.

" A touch on the rambling side, but overall an interesting account of science at all costs. " said.

"This was a very interesting and informative read, although I do have some issues with it. It is listed as a young adult book, but the notes are so extensive that I cannot imagine many young people reading them. Some of that information could have been incorporated into the life story. Still, good to read as truth is stranger than fiction. Just as an aside - I put this and all books away for a few weeks while I was traveling, but while reading the notes long after the main story did not need to go back to the life story." said.

" A touch on the rambling side, but overall an interesting account of science at all costs. " said.

December 2018 New Book:

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