Serengeti: Natural Order on the African Plain, by Mitsuaki Iwago. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. 328 pp. $19.95 paper, $30 cloth. This is the book for anyone who has ever visited the wildlife reserves of East Africa - and for anyone who wants to. The 280 color photographs assembled here are breathtaking portraits of the day-to-day beauty and violence of life on the African plain. Add to that the book's extremely reasonable price, and you've got one of the best coffeetable buys of the year.
Photographer Mitsuaki Iwago lived in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park for 18 months, shooting the wildlife and their way of life. In his photos, he has captured the power and beauty of lions, cheetahs, zebras, gazelles - as well as the intensity and grace of the hunt. Iwago also has caught the moodiness and vastness of the Serengeti in photos as diverse as a purple-black night shot that shows the trail of stars across the sky and a double page spread of a full double rainbow arching across a gently rolling landscape.
Iwago's photos are unflinching, humorous, and exquisite. ``Serengeti'' is worth every penny.