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 Post subject: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Century
PostPosted: September 14th, 2010, 5:17 am 
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
Has anybody read this?

http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Snake-Cha ... 1450221262


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 17th, 2010, 9:27 am 
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Hi Hans,
Regarding your inquiry about Secrets of the Snake Charmer, I am the author. It appears that not many people have seen this book, because the publisher has done a poor job of publicizing it, but it has been available since late April and has been favorably reviewed on-line. If you have any questions about it I can try and answer them. John C. Murphy


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 17th, 2010, 6:20 pm 
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Hey John,

thanks for your answer! Like most people here, I"m always on the lookout for new books about herptiles. Could you point me in the direction of a few online reviews, then?

Thanks in advance!

Hans


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 17th, 2010, 6:44 pm 
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Hans, the Amazon.com site has four reviews, you can see them at
http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Snake-Cha ... 1450221262 .
John


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 17th, 2010, 7:11 pm 
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Thanks a lot, John! How would you compare your book with Greene's "Snakes"? Does it touch on different topics? Does it build upon it? Or is it a totally different beast? Did you write it mostly with the novice in mind, or would it add to the advanced herper's library also?

Sorry for being a pest, but I really would love to buy it - just have to make sure it's something new....

Thanks very much in advance!

Hans


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 18th, 2010, 2:57 am 
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Hans,
Greene's book was published in 1997. Therefore all of his content is based upon research done before that date. What I did with Secrets of the Snake Charmer was to look at the research from 2000 to late 2009 and build a book on it. Now, for perspective I had to use older material and refer to what people though in the past. Because, so much new information changes what and how we think about snakes. I have had some pretty well known herpetologists tell me they really like the book. If you regularly read research papers you will probably be familiar with many of the topics and ideas. However, I have added my own take on how snakes evolved from lizards, how rattlesnakes evolved their rattles, and why spitting cobras spit. My suspicions are that this book will change numerous ideas about how people think about snakes. I wrote it for a general audience so even if someone is unfamiliar with snakes they can get a lot out of the book. Chapter 1 looks at why humans are both fascinated and fearful of snakes - they have a long co-evolution in Africa - and Lynn Isbell has proposed humans evolved exceptionally good vision and declarative pointing as a way to avoid venomous snake bite. Chapter 1 also contains a story about two brothers who run a snake charming school and murdered several of their students in an attempt to demonstrate to the other trainees, that they could bring people bitten by snakes back to life. As far as I know, that story has never been told in the snake literature in last 100 years. In Chapter 2, I discuss the impact of molecular technology(DNA) and cladistics on how we look at organisms, provide an over view of squamates and their evolution based upon both morphology and DNA, discuss flexible mechanisms squamates have for reproducing and how squamate embryos are susceptible to the environment - how events in embryonic development influence adult behavior. Chapter 3 Lizards that Turned into Snakes, discusses the evidence for this topic from the fossil record as well as DNA evidence, snakes evolved from a lizard ancestor about 166 to 160 MYA. And, in this chapter I discuss my ideas about the life style of the snake ancestor, this is not found in any other literature. Chapter 4 is titled, Schlegel's Curse and described how one man's (Herman Schlegel) 19th century ideas about venomous snakes resulted in the deaths of several 20th century herpetologists and how we now consider venom an ancestral character in snakes, i.e. all snakes are carrying the genes to make fangs and venom. Chapter 5 is titled Armed and Dangerous, it focuses on the venom and venom delivery apparatus. discusses why venom may have originally evolved (as an antibacterial agent), and why some snakes have such toxic venom while others have very week venom. Chapter 6 looks at envenomation strategies in snakes and the mechanics of a strike and bite, the global snake bite problem, the effects of venom, and the history of the development of antivenom. Chapter 8, Hot Behavior, links temperature relationships in snakes to: finding food with thermal pits, sexual selection, and parental behavior. There are 14 chapters and you can read parts significant parts of the book on-line if you go to:http://www.scribd.com/doc/30660604/Secrets-of-the-Snake-Charmer

I hope this helps, and if you read the book and like it I would appreciate referrals. Also, I am willing to send books to people who will review it in print or on-line.
Best wishes,
John


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 19th, 2010, 3:55 am 
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Damn you for this post... my wallet is screwed.

It linked a bunch of new books I was not aware of in addition to the one posted. (thanks...?)

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 19th, 2010, 4:52 am 
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Sorry about that. But look at it this way. Everybody keeps telling me that digital is the future of books. However, if you are a collector it means that hard copy books will be more difficult to get, and the demand for them will increase, making your library worth more! Spending money on technical books is an investment and when the economy improves your book values will increase.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 19th, 2010, 8:49 am 
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You're preaching to the choir here.

I hate digital books.

I will be getting a copy of your book. It looks quite good.

fordonia wrote:
Sorry about that. But look at it this way. Everybody keeps telling me that digital is the future of books. However, if you are a collector it means that hard copy books will be more difficult to get, and the demand for them will increase, making your library worth more! Spending money on technical books is an investment and when the economy improves your book values will increase.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 19th, 2010, 9:53 am 
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Thanks EJ, I had the intention of getting a web site up and running that summarized the book and would allow readers to give me feedback. But, it has not happened yet, maybe next week.
John


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 19th, 2010, 12:04 pm 
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Good luck with it.

fordonia wrote:
Thanks EJ, I had the intention of getting a web site up and running that summarized the book and would allow readers to give me feedback. But, it has not happened yet, maybe next week.
John


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 19th, 2010, 5:12 pm 
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Thanks very much for your elaboration, John! I'm sold, and the order is out :-) Will review it as soon as I'm finished.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 20th, 2010, 4:54 am 
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Ok, I got up early this morning and finished the website for Secrets of the Snake Charmer. You can find it at: http://secretsofthesnakecharmer.blogspot.com/

Also people interested in this may be interested in a new blog I am starting go to: http://squamates.blogspot.com/
JCM


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 20th, 2010, 4:53 pm 
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A companion website for the book - not only an excellent idea, but also very well executed!

I wish we could move this thread to the main forum to drum up more interest....


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 20th, 2010, 5:50 pm 
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Hans,
You know most chapter open with a story based on my field work. I have a few questions that I may pose to the main forum.
John


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 20th, 2010, 10:03 pm 
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How does one move a thread?


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 22nd, 2010, 9:28 am 
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Just recieved a copy of the book and had a quick flip through. This first flip made me happy, it looks intelligently written but not intimidating. It's not a picture book, I find those to be vacuous. So I will be ripping into it soon and finding out what it's all about, but looks good at a glance.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: September 23rd, 2010, 7:13 am 
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Justin,
Glad to hear you got the book.
John


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 1st, 2010, 8:16 am 

Joined: June 10th, 2010, 6:29 am
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The chapter summery on this thread and the website definitely sold me on this book. When cash flow improves I will definitely pick it up and review! I'm actually really excited about this one as it touches on topics that have long fascinated me about snake and venom evolution.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 1st, 2010, 12:59 pm 
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Notread, you could always encourage your library to order it!


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 1st, 2010, 1:13 pm 

Joined: June 10th, 2010, 6:29 am
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You know, Maybe I'll give that a shot and see what happens. Great idea :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 1st, 2010, 2:01 pm 
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I've started to read it, but my free time has been short. So far I've enjoyed it a lot. It's current which is a plus and it's not too pretentious and it's not too understated. I don't think kids would like it but you don't need an advanced biology degree to get it either. The only nit I have is that the pics are B&W. I know this is to keep cost down, but I do love a good picture in the book, especially if the text is describing the animal or behavior.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 1st, 2010, 6:24 pm 
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I'm reading it as we write, and will write a review when I'm done in a month or so.

So far, I concur with the above poster. The book is very current indeed and packs much of the knowledge that's been gained since the last major general snake book by Harry Greene came out 14 years ago.

Definitely a treasure trove of "new" knowledge every snake enthusiast should have on the shelf.

The pix being b&w were probably an economic decision. Glossy coffee table books are expensive for a reason :-)

The only nit I have to pick with the book is that as a translator and language monger, I find the many typos, misspellings (different from typos!) and occasional word omissions grating and somewhat detrimental to my reading enjoyment. I'm on page 21 now and have so far found an average of one error per page. This is not the author's fault, but the proofreading editor should be hung by the skin of his soles and snacked on by wild boars. (Of course, the remaining 300+ pages might be glitch-free :-))


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 1st, 2010, 7:53 pm 
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Hans, you are my next proof reader!


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 1st, 2010, 11:28 pm 
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fordonia wrote:
Hans, you are my next proof reader!

Thank you :-) I wasn't being facetious, really. It's just that I can hardly think of a greater joy than reading, and sloppily edited texts just lessen the experience and the immersion.

But again - judging from what I've seen and read so far, this is an important book for any snake fan. It's intellectually demanding enough to be fun (and respect the discerning reader), but doesn't require an advanced degree in microbiology or evolutionary sciences to understand.

As threatened, I'll write more once I'm done :-)

Cheers,

Hans


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 13th, 2010, 9:45 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
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Location: Amarillo, Texas
Damnit. My wallet, it cries in agony! This, Hi-point's new carbine a wealth of PC games *sigh* usually winter is when I save money.....
edit: and Rubio's new book, I gotta get that *sigh*

Frig me I need a new bookcase.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 13th, 2010, 10:12 pm 
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Steal the games, but buy this book. It's excellent.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 13th, 2010, 10:26 pm 
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I've finished the book now and will more than recommend it. This is a new standard work for everyone who doesn't read scientific papers on a daily basis.

This book is basically a compilation of the most important snake-related research results of the past ten years, neatly divided into various chapters dealing with paleontology, evolution, venom, snakebite, various habitats and a host of other subjects.

As far as I see it, it picks up where Harry Greene's "Snakes" left off. As an encyclopedia of the most current knowledge on the subject, is a must for everyone interested in the biology and ecology of snakes.

Run, don't walk, to your nearest Amazon outlet and get a copy.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 14th, 2010, 3:09 am 
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Hi Hans,
I am glad you liked the book. it looks like my http://secretsofthesnakecharmer.blogspot.com/ has already started to pick up some traffic. I am looking forward to seeing your Taiwan book.
John


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: October 19th, 2010, 4:31 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:52 pm
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Location: Amarillo, Texas
got it in today. I"m a little too tipsy right now to be 100Z% certian, but I've read the firs chapter...looked at it through a haze anyway...like it so far. I think there's not enough stuff in it's bracket; for more than the novice but not the hardcore PhD holder who can debate taxonomy and genetics and dispersion iwthout having to us notes. Tenative buy recomendation (to be solidifed when I read more of it, when I'm more sober).

It's got strenghts in that i's approachable,understandable but not condescening/vacous. Like that.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: November 29th, 2011, 1:11 pm 

Joined: June 10th, 2010, 5:20 pm
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Location: Hazard,Ky
Just got the book yesterday, literally just finished it, I devoured it in two session amazing work, I was especially happy to see the ESC images of Erpeton tentaculatum. This is a species I have kept several times in captivity, even bred them when I had my big colony (70 some in a huge planted aquarium) Its amazing to watch them give birth and the babies can be raised 2 at a time in a pop jug, err soda for you Yankees. This book ranks right up there with Snakes: The evolution of mystery in nature. Its also uch more up to date. Sorry for ranting I just cant express how good this tome is. Oh and John your other book Homolaspids, Evolution in the mud is on its way as of today. Homolaspids are my favorite family of non-venomous snakes well perhaps I shouldn't refer to them that way as most of them are venomous to a slight degree even my beloved E.t's. Thank you very much for this Mr.Murphy your contribution to my library is much appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: November 29th, 2011, 2:28 pm 
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Thank you! Unfortunately the rest of the world has not yet discovered it.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: November 29th, 2011, 3:13 pm 

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Just ordered Secrets of the Snake Charmer. Can't wait.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: November 29th, 2011, 3:20 pm 
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Thanks, let me know how you like it.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: December 4th, 2011, 8:02 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am
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The book arrived yesterday. It is WONDERFUL! I want to devour it immediately and voraciously, but I also want to ration chapters of it so that the reading experience does not end too soon. This is definitely one of those books that I do not want to end.
A little bit of money VERY well spent.


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 Post subject: Re: Secrets of the Snake Charmer - Snakes in the 21st Centur
PostPosted: December 4th, 2011, 8:08 am 
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Thanks Tamara. Enjoy the book.
John


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