Dr. Karl P. N. Shuker


Dragons: A Natural History

Dragons: A Natural History

Dragons: A Natural History (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1995; ISBN 0-684-81443-9 (hb)) (Aurum Press: London, 1995; ISBN 1-85410-372-5 (pb)). With a foreword by Dr. Desmond Morris. Hb/Pb, 120 pp, colour pics, refs, index.

In 2003, this book was republished in the USA by Barnes & Noble Books (New York); ISBN 0-7607-4551-X (hb).

In 2004, it was republished in the UK by New Burlington Books (London); ISBN 1-86155-487-7 (hb); and in 2006, it was republished in the UK again, this time by Evergreen Books, an English imprint of Taschen (Cologne); ISBN 3-8228-5152-3 (hb).

French edition also available: Les Dragons: Histoire, Mythes et Représentations (Solar: Paris, 1997; ISBN 2-263-02579-0 (pb)).

German edition also available: Drachen: Mythologie - Symbolik - Geschichte (Bechtermünz Verlag: Augsburg, 1997; ISBN 3-86047-689-0 (hb)).

Dutch edition also available: Draken: Een Geillustreede Geschiedenis (Librero: Kerkdriel, 2006; ISBN 90-5764-704-4 (hb)).

Other foreign-language editions include Spanish, Italian, and Japanese editions. Several different editions are currently available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, including:- , , , and .

The terrifying flame-belching horror of classical Western mythology may well be the most famous type of dragon, but it is far from being the only type on record. Worms and lindorms, guivres and wyverns, winged serpents from Egypt and ethereal dragon-gods from the Orient, six-legged tarasques, water-spouting gargouilles, and toad-incubated cockatrices also belong to the formidable dynasty of the dragon - as revealed in this unique guide to dragons of the world.

Here, for the very first time, is a book that explores the likely zoological origins, 'evolution', and dramatic diversity of mythology's most ferocious fauna - retelling their breathtaking confrontations with mankind in vivid prose complemented by superb illustrations that transform their subjects from intangible monsters of the imagination into rampaging reptilians equally as alive and authentic as anything that strides, slithers, swims, or soars through the grim world of reality.

There is even the fascinating possibility, as exclusively investigated here, that some dragons are actually based upon real-life animals still awaiting discovery by science - elusive, corporeal dragons of tomorrow?

Written by a zoologist with an internationally-acclaimed reputation for highly original, painstakingly researched books dealing with a vast range of animal myths and mysteries, this is a book, therefore, that uniquely visits not only the dragons of the past and present but also those of the future - assimilating a wealth of eye-opening information and thought-provoking concepts guaranteed to stir the imagination of devoted draconophiles everywhere!

"I had intended for many years to write a natural history of dragons. But now, perhaps, I do not need to bother because Kar1 Shuker has done it for me. I am immensely grateful to him and I shall treasure the book he has compiled to take us into the wonderfully strange draconian world."
   Dr. Desmond Morris, quoted from his foreword to this book.

"A fine, encyclopaedia-style digest of more than 30 of these beguiling creatures - some mythological, others tantalisingly real."
   Focus, October 1995.

"We always knew that Karl Shuker was a meticulous and erudite scholar. This book proves that he is a superbly entertaining story teller. This book is a must for those with an interest in all things draconian. Shuker writes in a witty and entertaining style... I haven't even mentioned the lavish and quite stunning illustrations which make this probably the most attractive book on any fortean subject I have seen in a long time... If Shuker carries on at this rate... he will put the rest of us who write about such things out of business. In common with much of the rest of the cryptozoological world, we at 'Animals & Men' are fascinated to know what he is going to write next!"
   Animals and Men, November 1995.

"Charmingly written and gorgeously illustrated with dragons ranging from Babylonian Ishtar's guard dragon as portrayed in mosaic bas-relief to Quetzalcoatl in Mayan codices to the creature Saint George famously fought, this is an excellent popular folklore tome."
   Booklist, 1 November 1995.

"A book title to excite anyone's interest, another winner by Dr. Karl Shuker... The text is excellent, Shuker at his best [and] the colour illustrations are the perfect support, scores of them. An exciting book which truly does explore the natural history of creatures, extinct now perhaps, but brought to life by this book which I believe you will read over and over."
   Western Morning News, 28 November 1995.

"Karl Shuker has done right by dragons, filling the need for a comprehensive book on the subject... The production values of this book are amazing, with colorful reproductions of artworks - from the past to the present day - that depict dragons and their kin. Even if Shuker had not here retold the original versions of the famous legends, the illustrations would, by themselves, be worth the price of this book. But since he does so, the volume is invaluable... a book both informative and dramatic."
   Douglas Chapman, Strange Magazine, Fall 1995.

"This beautifully illustrated book is nothing less than a joyful celebration of the sheer variety of cultural interpretations of the dragon. Every conceivable type of dragon is covered... The full colour pictures throughout complement Shuker's nicely-crafted text which manages to convey a huge amount of obscure detail without being patronising or tedious. What a pleasure to see a well-written book for the general reader by an authority who clearly delights in his subject. Well done author and publisher!"
   Fortean Times, December 1995.

"A well produced, full colour, glossy publication, jammed packed with information and is richly illustrated. In fact, there is a number of illustrations I haven't seen before. A revelation to an old dragon hunter like myself... Dragons: A Natural History is set to become a classic tome in the chronicles of dragonlore. A must for any dragon library. Highly recommended."
   The Dragon Chronicle, January 1996.

"Beautifully illustrated with medieval paintings, drawings from manuscripts, and photographs of ancient artifacts, this encyclopedia provides a wealth of information on dragon lore. Writing in a lively and engaging style, Shuker traces the evolution of dragons."
   Kate Mann, Fate, December 1996.

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