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BOOK REVIEW: "Rocks and Minerals" by Monica Price and Kevin Walsh

posted Nov 13, 2012, 1:10 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Nov 13, 2012, 10:02 PM ]
    Ten to twenty new titles about amateur field geology, petrology (study of rocks), and mineralogy are released every year.  Most are repeats of previous titles, some provide a refreshing perspective on a subject dear to all of us.  "Rocks and Minerals" is a terrible, overused, and barely descriptive title that I wish these two excellent authors had avoided. However, I concede that this is not a work of fiction, so the need for a catchy cover phrase is less critical than a brief descriptive; tell the technically oriented audience what they're going to get between the pages. I read a lot of books like this, so have been secretly waiting for "Pride and Prejudice and Sheelite"  or "One Flew Over the Granodiorite Exposure".  I'll keep waiting.
    These authors clearly understood shortcomings of previous handbooks; photographic illustrations which highlighted the beauty of discussed minerals rather than providing a helpful guide to real-world identification, cursory background research of technical data, leading to conflicting and often incorrect assignment of physical properties, omission of important data, such as acid solubility, for reasons unknown, and misclassification.
    It was refreshing to see all these issues resolved in the first edition of this very useful field guide. I am in the process of boxing up most of the "rock and mineral" titles collected over the years to help open some needed shelf space in my modest library.  Having found this concise guide, I can do that without worrying about sacrificing rapid access to information I MUST have. 
    You can review this yourself at Half Price Books, it's currently on sale for $8; a bargain.

Chris Herter
MRGC Field Trip Director