In the 'Advertisement' to this 1784 two-volume work, Thomas Pennant (1726–98), zoologist and traveller, explains that his original intention was to record the zoology of North America 'when the empire of Great Britain was entire'. After the War of Independence, he changed his focus to the zoology (and people, archaeology and geology) of the Arctic regions of America, Europe and Siberia. The content of the volumes, one of the earliest works of systematic zoology published in Britain, is based on the writings of earlier zoologists, information obtained by Pennant from his scientific correspondents all over Europe and America, and his studies in private museums and collections. It is embellished with engravings of animals, birds, landscapes and artefacts. Volume 2 deals with land and water birds, including some, such as the passenger pigeon, which are now extinct. Other works by Thomas Pennant are also reissued in the Cambridge Library Collection.