NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Leslie Brunetta and Catherine L. Craig's Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating (Yale University Press, 2010). The preview consists of the preface — which explains, "The evolution of spiders can help elucidate the workings of natural selection — and why Charles Darwin's phrase 'descent with modification' so well describes evolution at both the genetic and the species level. The case of spiders can also help dispel some commonly held misconceptions about evolution, such as the notion that it always leads to a better organism or aims at a perfect adaptation to the environment" — as well as chapter 2, which discusses mesotheles, the "living fossils" of spiderdom.
The reviewer for BioScience described Spider Silk as "an ideal introduction to spiders and a tempting peek at the field of silk research that I hope will leave the reader forever fascinated and enthused by these wonderful web weavers," and Joe Lapp, in a forthcoming review for Reports of the NCSE, praises Spider Silk as "an amazing treat for arachnophiles and teachers of evolution both," adding that the book is "an enjoyable, informative, and surprising read." Spider Silk received a 2011 "Highly Recommended" award from the Boston Authors Club, was a finalist for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year award in the Nature category in 2010, and was listed as a best seller in botany/zoology by Library Journal.