Drake Stutesman

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Drake Stutesman

Distributed for Reaktion Books

216 pages | 50 color plates, 52 halftones | 5.29 x 7.5 | © 2005
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781861892393 Published November 2005 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $19.95 ISBN: 9781861895011 Published November 2005
A snake smells with its tongue, hears with its flesh, and breathes under the sand with one lung; it can copulate for days with one snake or with fifty at once; it has infrared radar; and it can induce spontaneous bleeding if threatened. With all these qualities, it is easy to see how snakes have such varied associations in cultures around the world: while celebrated in tattoos and tales, and for medicinal benefits, snakes are also so universally feared that they constantly endure intense persecution and rarely enjoy protected rights. Drake Stutesman explores here in Snake the fascinating natural history of the maligned serpentine.

Stutesman examines a wide range of sources to investigate the complex and widespread symbolism the snake has inspired, including the serpent’s temptation of Eve in the Bible, Kaa in The Jungle Book, the Chinese zodiac, Indian snake charmers, and the Hollywood film Anaconda. She looks at the role snakes have played in human culture and science, from snake cuisine and the use of venom in medicine to the intriguing history of snake symbolism in art, architecture, cinema, and even clothing. Richly illustrated and written in an engaging style, Snake is an invaluable resource for snake enthusiasts and scholars, as well as for all who love, admire, or fear this fascinating and enduring animal.
Review Quotes
The Independent on Sunday
"Reaktion’s series of  ’Animal’ books . . . is forming a large and fascinating library of arcane knowledge about various species’ physiology and, more, about the cultural significance they’ve accrued since humans first joined them on this planet, 15,000 odd years ago. Skipping from the Sumerians to The Simpsons, Stutesman demonstrates what we’ve also most venerated and feared about snakes."
Martin Levin | Globe and Mail
"A lively and lovely series. . . . This delightful series gives us animals as both alien and familiar. . . . An exhilarating, often astonishing and sometimes moving series of monographs."
Bruce Elder | Sydney Morning Herald
"A cornucopia of facts both trivial and important. . . . It is genuinely interesting."
Tim Dee | Times Literary Supplement
"The illustrations are superb. . . . Books like this prompt you to collect your favourite facts as you read."
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