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Re: Scientific American book



> Date: Mon, 05 Feb 2001 09:33:44 -0800
> From: Richard Peirce <rpnr@ix.netcom.com>
> 
>     Now that I have finished reading the The Scientific American
> Book of Dinosaurs I would like to share my reflections on it for the
> benefit of any Listers who are still wondering whether it is worth
> their while to part with $35.

I'll stick my oar here too, if I may.

I've read about 2/3 of this book so far, and I have to say it's
disappointing.  My problems with it are mostly the ame as Richard's,
but I think they bother me more than they do him :-)

1.  How is it possible for this book to be published sans index?
2.  The restorations sprinkled through the articles are indeed
        beautiful and evocative, but I would _so_ much rather have had
        useful diagrams than tangentially related Art.
3.  The actual writing is patchy in places: there's some clumsy
        English and a lot of misprints.
4.  The skeletal reconstructions are minuscule.  Others have said
        this, but I would gladly pay a reasonable price for a book
        consisting only of these and similar illustrations blown up to
        a sensible size.

It's still fascinating; and it does have the advantage of being very
up to date.  But for other interested laymen like myself who don't
already own it, I would have to recommend _The Complete Dinosaur_,
edited by James O. Farlow and M. K. Brett-Surman, ISBN 0253213134.
For pretty much the same price ($28.00 vs. $26.36 for the SciAm book
at amazon.com) it's about twice as long, written in a much more
detailed way, is better illustrated (in terms of diagrams rather than
restorations) and feels more of a unity rather than an anthology,
including material not covered in SciAm, such as Holtz's very usefu
overview of the dinosaur skeleton.

To clarify: this is not to speak against the SciAm book -- I am very
glad to have bought it.  But for anyone who's going to buy just one
dinosaur book, I'd have to recommend TCD ahead of it.

 _/|_    _______________________________________________________________
/o ) \/  Mike Taylor -- <mirk@mail.org> -- http://www.miketaylor.org.uk/
)_v__/\  Now what?


P.S.  Apologies to any HPs who contributed to the SciAm book -- I'm
sure you're all aware that this is nothing personal!