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My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs Paperback – 4 Mar 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Scientific American; Reprint edition (4 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374534268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374534264
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.8 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Switek's dinomania is infectious. The book charms with the author's passionate curiosity . . . half guidebook, half love note. Switek lays out an accessible, rich history of these creatures, along the way meditating on the larger issues raised by their ancient lives and our modern study of them, including our evolving understanding of evolution, the role of personality and bias in the scientific process, and the psychology of just what we humans see in these fascinating monsters.--The Boston Globe.Switek's writing is crisp and clean, and he knows his dinosaurs . . . [He] does a good job of keeping up with the latest refinements in dinosaur science. Crucially, he shares his enthusiasm well, writing about the fun, the weird and the wonderful without the tall tales of the explorers of old.--New Scientist Switek's book is a lifeline for the dinosaur enthusiast--an entertaining guide to the latest science of dinosaurs.--ScienceNews Charming . . . Read Mr. Switek's book to rekindle your love of all things dinosaur: the cheesy movies, the action figures, the many happy hours spent wandering through imaginary Jurassic jungles. But more than that, read it to remind yourself that the dinosaurs' story is our story and that, as Mr. Switek writes, extinction is the ultimate fate of all species. Nothing so majestically encapsulates these simple, powerful truths of nature quite like a dinosaur.--The Wall Street Journal [Switek] offer[s] a compelling mixture of reliable infor-mation, personal experiences and thoughts, anecdotes about paleontological research and even science philosophy, delivered in a breezy and engaging style . . . [he] paints a comprehensive picture of how our understanding of dinosaur evo-lution gradually advances . . . Switek has succeeded in covering a wide range of inter-esting topics in dinosaur palaeontology with infectious enthusiasm.Nature. A charming journey . . . Making --Various --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Brian Switek is an online columnist for National Geographic and is the author of Written in Stone. He has written for Smithsonian, Wired, Slate, The Wall Street Journal,Nature,Scientific American, and other publications. His examinations of fossil discoveries have been featured by the BBC and NPR. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Modernistocrat Horatio Alger on 15 May 2013
Format: Hardcover
Brian Switek is not only one of the best living science writers, period, he is also the science writer who knows dinosaurs best, period. And he loves them; his passion comes hurtling through the chapters like a Yucatan-bound meteorite (but a meteorite that brings dinosaurs to life rather than brings them doom). You don't move from New Jersey to Utah to be closer to the coolest dinosaur dig sites and museums if you don't truly have a burning zeal for dinosaur research. His street cred is thoroughly established by that alone.

This is a very personal story of how one man's love of dinosaurs has stayed with him, has shaped his life, and how his perception and enjoyment of dinosaurs have changed along with the science. It's a book for dinosaur fans of ages roughly 12 and upwards. Switek writes extremely accessibly but intelligently- he does not dumb things down but makes them interesting, fun and even novel to an expert (like myself; I'm a professor who does dinosaur research and I learned a few things I'd missed out on!). And he doesn't make it lame, cheesy or nerdy- he stands up for good science and for dinosaurs as more than just kitsch. I loved phrases like "You can't get blood from a stone, but if you know where to look, you might find dinosaur colour."

The highlights of the book for me, first, include his vivid, firsthand experiences of what it's like- not just in terms of a sensory experience but in terms of a profound personal experience- to be in the field digging up or hunting for dinosaur fossils. His accounts of driving around the USA to visit various museums, field sites or researchers left me nostalgic for my own similar trips back in the 1990s.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G G S COLLINS on 13 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book provides an up-to-date and highly readable treatise on the latest state of play on dinosaur research - which the author stresses changes almost from day to day! I bought the book so that I could outwit a grandson who seems to know all there is to know about dinosaurs - on occasion, I can now prove him wrong. The book is logically written with chapters on all the known major aspects of dinosaur history, anatomy and physiology.

I give it only four stars as it suffers from a fault common to many science books for the generalist reader - the illustrations. They are of poor quality, generally not referred to in the text and the book seems to lack illustrations that would help the reader follow the text. For example, there is no overall "family tree" of dinosaurs to enable the reader better to understand the relationship between those that are referred to in the text. In addition, I am not convinced that the repeated descriptions of the author's car journeys and resultant visits to dinosaur museums and sites where dinosaur fossils have and are being discovered adds anything useful to the book. I don't like the method of referencing used by the author - you have to find the relevant phrase in the text to track down any further information or original articles/books provided in the section headed "notes" - these are numbered so why not give the number of the note at the relevant point in the text?

Nevertheless, this is a book for all dinosaur addicts and it will give all adults great satisfaction in being "one up" on their grandchildren/children and younger addicts will appreciate being updated on these fascinating creatures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jad Cook on 20 April 2014
Format: Paperback
Simply, this book is amazing in my opinion because it's a book about dinosaurs written for adults. Nonetheless whilst still discussing the latest scientific thinking in a clear and understandable way, suitable for a lay man like me, Switek's child-like enthusiasm seeps through the entire book making it a pleasure to read. It covers a wide range of fascinating dinosaur topics from their origins, their colours and feathers, sex and growing up, and finally extinction.
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Format: Hardcover
This is by far the best current Dinosaur book available.

But behold - this title is not for everyone! To fully enjoy this wonderfully written book you should at least have a basic knowledge about dinosaurs and know the creatures behind names like 'Triceratops', 'Torosaurus', 'T-Rex', 'Apatosaurus' and of course - 'Brontosaurus'!!

If these names don't seem to you like words from a Latin or Greek novel and if you are a dinosaur fan for at least a few years then this book will catapult your knowledge to the current state (it contains news of findings from 2012!).

Like in his last book, Brian Switek takes the reader to an adventure into the past.

With the information found in this book, you can hear and see these great creatures with other eyes.
Your image of them will be more realistic than ever!

Conclusion:
If you are already a Dino fan, this book is the best way to boost your dinosaur knowledge up to date.
All the others should consider buying a more suitable title for beginners.

For more information about Brian's books I recommend to take a look at his homepage: [...]
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