OK I am 60 years late with this review, but better late than never is my theory! Actually my wife and her mother were tidying up some old papers and I spotted the book and asked if I might read it.

I enjoy books that have weathered the test of time. Rocks And Minerals was published in 1957, I have to admit that I did not run out and snag a copy when it was published, but I have a good excuse, I was only two years old and not interested in the subject of rocks or minerals unless I could eat them.

It is fair to say that Rocks and Minerals is dated, the ‘400 illustrations in color’ are delightful and well done, but hardly of the photographic quality expected today.

Although merely a paperback, it is certainly a work that Herbert Zim and his aides took great pleasure in creating. I enjoyed the sheer ‘simplicity’ of the book. In the preamble Herbert discusses (with illustrations) the equipment needed by the would be Rock Hound. A hammer, chisel, magnifying glass, notebook and pencil, compass, old newspapers, heavy gloves and a field bag to carry it all around in.

The newspaper, it turns out was to store the rocks till you got them home, silly me, I assumed it was so you could sit down and do the crossword if the rocks weren’t biting. The compass also had me confused. If a map was included I could understand, the only thing I can think of is to use it to help identify Meteorites, Magnetite and other iron ores.

No iPhone, no GPS, no Facebook nor Twitter. Just a bag and a hammer. And the best thing of all, brand new the book only cost $1. Amazingly Rocks and Minerals is still available for purchase, but the price has gone up a bit.

Simon Barrett

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