Books: A Library of Christmas Gifts

A celebration of history, life and art

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Early Homo sapiens decorated the walls of his caves with simple yet evocative drawings of the animals he hunted; later artists, from Leonardo and Albrecht Dürer through John James Audubon, captured not merely the physical appearance but the very essence of the creatures that interested them. The work of all these artists is handsomely presented in S. Peter Dance's The Art of Natural History (Overlook Press; unpaginated; $49.50), a handsome, oversized volume that does as much justice to painters and sculptors as it does to...

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