Skulls is a beautiful spellbinding exploration of more than 300 different animal skulls—amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles—written by New York Times bestselling author, Simon Winchester and produced in collaboration with Theodore Gray and Touch Press, the geniuses behind The Elements and Solar System.
In Skulls, best-selling author Simon Winchester (author of The Professor and the Madman; Atlantic: A Biography of the Ocean; Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded; and others) tells the rich and fascinating story of skulls, both human and animal, from every perspective imaginable: historical, biographical, cultural, and iconographic. Presenting details about the parts of the skull (including the cranium, the mandible, the shape and positioning of the eye sockets, and species-specific features like horns, teeth, beaks and bills), information about the science and pseudoscience of skulls, and a look at skulls in religion, art and popular culture, his stories and information are riveting and enlightening.
At the center of Skulls is a stunning, never-before-seen-in-any-capacity, visual array of the skulls of more than 300 animals that walk, swim, and fly. The skulls are from the collection of Alan Dudley, a British collector and owner of what is probably the largest and most complete private collection of skulls in the world. Every skull is beautifully photographed to show several angles and to give the reader the most intimate view possible. Each includes a short explanatory paragraph and a data box with information on the animal's taxonomy, behavior, and diet.
Skulls was published in December 2011 as an e-book for the iPad by the innovative e-book publishers Touch Press, creators of the best-selling e-books for iPad The Elements and Solar System. Both books were also published in print by Black Dog & Leventhal.
About the Author
Nick Mann is a freelance photographer working in Central Illinois. Aside from having photographed more elements than probably anyone in the world, he is an accomplished landscape, sports, and event photographer.
Simon Winchester is the bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map that Changed the World, Krakatoa, A Crack in the Edge of the World and more than a dozen other books. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Smithsonian, National Geographic and elsewhere. Mr. Winchester was made Officer of the Order of British Empire (OBE) by HM The Queen in 2006. He lives in New York City and Massachusetts.
"Digging deep into Alan Dudley's collection of more than 2,000 skulls, Winchester (The Professor and the Madman) and photographer Mann highlight the rarest and most unusual of the vaunted cranium connoisseur's world-class assortment (which is housed cozily in a spare upstairs bedroom in his home in England). Grouping the skulls according to species, Winchester enthusiastically educates armchair osteologists on the peculiarities of key subspecies, enabling readers, should the need arise, to tell a long-nosed bandicoot from a southern brown bandicoot, the bizarrely horned babirusa from a warthog, or the fearsome (and extinct) saber-toothed cat from a modern (endangered) tiger. Though some, like the hard-to-find elephant skull, are replicas, the vast majority are the real thing, including that of the extinct dodo bird. Winchester rounds out the book with various essays on topics such as the use of skulls in artwork, phrenology, and other related subjects with varying degrees of success. Prone to wordiness, he's at his best offering short takes on his subjects or tips on DIY skull collecting. Mann's crisp, reverential photography more than makes up for the volume's literary shortcomings, making this one coffee-table book that's hard to resist. "
"This is a gorgeous, coffee-table book that will the delight the heart... I loved this book. A real treasure."
-Jenny Clack BBC Focus (Science and Technology)
Beautiful Book, December 19, 2012
By Jeanette R Kauffman
"This is a wonderful book - purchased for my daughter who is a naturalist and LOVES her skull collection.
It's a Christmas gift which she does not have yet - but I know she'll love the book."
Skulls, December 10, 2012
By Karen Thomas "KST" (USA)
"It's a lovely book with very clear pictures. It has skull pictures of fish, birds and mammals of all
kinds. Sometime an entire skeleton is pictured. I think it's a wonderful book."
Perfect for anyone interested in natural history, December 1, 2012
By Ann Littlewood
"This hardcover is a beautiful collection of Nick Mann's photos of skulls that were prepared by a private
collector, Alan Dudley. Dudley came to Winchester's attention after getting busted buying an illegal
howler monkey skull. He pleaded guilty, did his service and paid his fine, and the implication is that he
isn't normally one to slip up in this way. (Replicas of many species are readily available, by the way.)
Dudley gets almost all of his skulls from zoos.
Among this book's virtues are a plethora of bird, fish and reptile skulls. Photographs of mammal skulls
are widely available as they are the taxonomic touchstone for mammals. The others, not so much. Partly
they are less common because (I know from trying) fish and reptile skulls can be the very devil to
Of special interest: a great assortment of hornbills, odd and fragile skulls of venomous snakes, wild
pigs with their seemingly self-destructive curving tusks. Be sure to take a look at the domestic dog
skulls and consider what we have done to the sturdy wolf.
Most of the photos are by Nick Mann, who has done great work on other Workman Publishing science books as
well, and most are excellent. The photos are interspersed with Winchester's wry text about skulls in art,
history, human evolution, etc. These are interesting, written for a non-technical audience, but this is
primarily a visual book and a beautiful addition to the natural history library."
Skulls, November 24, 2012
"I did not see or read this book because it was sent directly to family inmate's facility. He said it is
fascinating and in excellent condition. The book was shipped quickly. Since the facility opens and
inspects all packages prior to giving (or denying) to our inmate, I can't say anything regarding
condition of package, but it must have been perfect because our inmate said the book itself was in
excellent condition. He did comment that this book is "Quite interesting and seeing the 'live photo' of
each skull image makes it 'all come together visually'" He is now interested in studying forensic
technology. Thank you so much for sending this book."
Skulls, November 20, 2012
By Sharon E. Ogden "Sharon" (Lancaster, PA)
"I bought this book for my husband - he has really enjoyed it. We originally saw it at a Museum in
This book was ordered for my husband who seems to love, November 17, 2012
By Indian Lover (Georgia, USA)
"My husband, a microbiologist, asked be to order this for him and he seems very happy with it. Condition
was greatand delivery rapid."
Skulls, November 16, 2012
By Kim George (Vicksburg, MS United States)
"Great book. I learned a lot, and it is a great refference. If anybody wants to learn about skulls or
animals it is a great book and I enjoy it very much."
Skulls: An exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection, November 3, 2012
By Bob Levin
"This book is well suited for the amateur as well as the professional skull/bone collector. The
photographs are excellent as well as the description of each skull. I would highly recommend this book to
any age or educational level."
Skulls: An amazing collection, October 18, 2012
By Marjorie Bicknell Johnson "Budding Novelist" (Santa Clara, California)
"The photographs of the 3000 skull collection are wonderful, and the narrative gives a course in natural
history. I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you want a "coffee table" book that will start
Will Not Disappoint!, October 11, 2012
"I ordered this book after viewing the article on it in Discover magazine and was instantly blown away by
the content. There are so many examples in this book and not just those of the common variety (2-headed
calf skull!). Each skull is accompanied by scientific classification, a picture of a living counterpart,
information about the animal and occasionally an interesting tidbit by Dudley himself. Chapters are also
headed by an article pertaining to skull history, information, ect. The book is also seperated into types
such as birds, mammals, reptiles, and so on each with amazing photographs of the skulls themselves.
Besides this being an informative and delightful book to look at, it outdoes itself in being a great
artists reference (which was my main reason for purchasing)especially for little know skulls. Thank you
Dudley and Simon for sharing these wonderful creatures with us!"
Not much Winchester, October 10, 2012
By James Wm Roberts (St.Joseph MO USA)
"Simon Winchester is one of my favorite non-fiction writers, but he is not much of a presence in this
book. There are several blocks of text but it is just mostly lots of pictures of skulls and skeletons. If
you are looking for a book to look at, this is a beautiful example, but not much to read. Check it out at
your library before you purchase."
Gorgeous pictures, October 5, 2012
By Book Junkie "Book Junkie" (LA, CA)
"Just received this yesterday. Ordered it sight unseen and hoped for the best. This book is gorgeous! The
collection is amazing, and the photography is beautifully done and well lit. The skulls are on a black
background, which seems to intensify the details. I was afraid there wouldn't be many photographs, but
the book is jam packed with them. The collection is diverse and the skulls are in great condition. Two
people who couldn't care less about skulls or bones were fascinated. I can't wait for the weekend to get
here so I can sit down and spend some serious time with it. A very exciting find!"
The skull is one of the most recognizable symbols of today's contemporary visual culture. Since its 1970's renaissance in the iconic album designs of bands such as the Grateful Dead, the skull has found its way into the visual vocabulary of urban life, adorning T-Shirts, badges and rock memorabilia as the ultimate symbol of anarchy and rebellion. Repurposed and recast by artists, illustrators and designers, it has become one of the most iconic cultural symbols of our time. In response to this cultural phenomenon, The Book of Skulls presents a cool visual guide to the skull, charting its rebirth through music and street fashion to become today's ultimate anti-establishment icon. From Black Sabbath to Cypress Hill, skater punk graffiti to Gothic tattoos, from high-couture to Hello Kitty and Dali to Damien Hirst, this book is the ultimate collection of cool and iconic skull motifs. Drawing together artwork from music, fashion, street art and graphic design The Book of Skulls is a celebration of one of today's most iconic cultural symbols.
About the Author
Faye Dowling is a freelance editor, curator and art buyer specializing in photography, illustration, design, and contemporary visual culture. She has worked for magazines including Dazed & Confused, Varoom, Frieze, Eye, Edit and Pictured.
excelent! October 13, 2012
"really good production and edition. it's better than i expected. i bought it because i liked the front page and because it's cheap and now is one of my favourite books."
Awesome!!! November 27, 2011
"i saw this book at urban outfitters and wanted to buy it, but i decided to wait and look for it online since it would probably be cheaper. if you like skulls, then you will love this book."
This book is Tonto November 17, 2011
"When it comes to skull books this makes a nice companion to Skullface by Antoni Cadafalch. If Skullface is the Lone Ranger this book is Tonto. They are both worth having but if you only have money for one buy Skullface."
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