The style and message of the book becomes becomes particularily evident
in the chapter abut the controversial discussion of tardigrade revival which took
place in France. According to May the scientific opponents decided in 1859 to have their
controversy settled by the "Société de Biologie" in Paris.
As a consequence a group of famous French biologists was formed (Broca, Balbiani,
Berthelot, Brown-Séquard, Dareste, Guillemin and Robin). They discussed
the pros and cons of tardigrade revival in 42 (!) plenary sessions. Finally the
unanimous sentence was that the tardigrades and rotifers can return to active
life even after complete desiccation in dry state.
Furthermore May explains why "blind" tardigrades (those without noticeable eye pigment)
behave exactly like "tardigrades with eyes": though the black or red pigment might
amplify the light intensity there is always an (invisible) sensory cell in close vicinity
to the pigment. This cell is making up the function of the eye, no matter whether
pigment spots are present or not.
Some further chapters are dealing with the remarkable properties of the
tardigrade cell membranes which can be penetrated by water but at the same
time protect against many other liquids like organic solvents and colorants.
The last chapter with its work recipees might look obsolete at first sight but it
is interesting to note that May is recommending a spoon full of holes in order
to remove the moss from its petri dish after the soaking of the moss.
Of course this might be a working solution also in our 21st century.
Overall "La vie des tardigrades" can be strongly recommended to every tardigrade
enthusiast. As it is written in French you will get it rather cheaply in all
countries outside of France. So don't hesitate to buy it if you should come across
one of those booklets in an antiquarian bookshop!