In many ways I regret dropping this book on a Romanian train, but it was just too heavy. Now almost 30 years old, it's a textbook which appears to have been written by a professor at the very end of his career. It might even be described as "holistic" somehow, since his stated goal was to write a biology book less dependent on new trends in microbiology. So it's an extremely learned and unique mix of human and animal biomechanics, anatomy, etc. by an old man who seems more than a little fed up. It's the perfect editorial slant for a science textbook, even if the science is 30 years out-of-date.
This is the first textbook ever to have given me a fiction recommendation -- namely, "The Search" by C.P. Snow, about a scientist who pursues science for all the wrong reasons. That's the first sign that the old professor was letting his life philosophy infiltrate his science. The second major sign is the fact that the book ends with the summarized list of complaints against Darwin's evolution, as stated by an uncredentialled university assistant who is said to have lost his job in another part of the book. I could find no other publications under that former assistant's name in a Google search. Darwin was a bit of a crackpot himself, but it seems the more politically savvy professors have been quietly skirting around his mistakes rather than challenging him in introductory textbooks.
There are some fascinating facts from the sections I've read, some of which show up in my updates. The professor complains that over 1 million new biology papers were published every year in 1985, so theoretically, this book should be pulp fiction. But a few years ago, Nature came out with a study which showed that 90% of the most important papers in microbiology couldn't be reproduced, by the company Bayer, if I'm not mistaken. It's quite possible the old professor was becoming fed up with the politics of modern science.