Synopses & Reviews
Nature has perfected the art of deception. Thousands of creatures all over the worldand#8212;including butterflies, moths, fish, birds, insects and snakesand#8212;have honed and practiced camouflage over hundreds of millions of years. Imitating other animals or their surroundings, natureand#8217;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 obviousand#8212;but how does and#8220;blindand#8221; nature do it? And how has humanity learned to profit from natureand#8217;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 Darwinand#8217;s theory of natural selection. But mimicry and camouflage also created a huge impact outside the laboratory walls. Peter Forbesand#8217;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 colorful stories and a dazzling cast of charactersand#8212;Roosevelt, Picasso, Nabokov, Churchill, and Darwin himself, to name a fewand#8212;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.
"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."and#8212;Christopher Potter, author of You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe
"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." -andnbsp;Michael Ruse, author of Darwin and its Discontents
"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. andnbsp;In this fascinating synthesis of science, art and history, andnbsp;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
"In this excellent and wide-ranging book, Forbes makes the hidden histories of science recognisable"and#8212; Leena Lindstrom, Nature
"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 militaryand#8230;Overall a wonderful topic that really hasnand#8217;t been given enough coverage, especially given its importance in understanding the mechanisms of evolution better, and an excellent book. Highly recommended." and#8212; Brian Clegg, Popular Science
"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 and#8230; [He] tells brilliantly this exciting and colourful story with good anecdotes, bizarre characters and intriguing evidence." and#8212; Tim Neward, Financial Times
"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
"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."and#8212;Edmund D. Brodie III, BioScience
The remarkable story of how mimicry is used by some of the most extraordinary creatures in the world
About the Author
Peter Forbes, a writer, journalist, and editor with a longstanding interest in the relationship between art and science, is the author of The Geckos Foot. Since 2004 he has been an Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Queen Mary University of London.