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The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

A New History of a Lost World
Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,306 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping and groundbreaking history of the age of dinosaurs, from one of our finest young scientists.

The dinosaurs. 66 million years ago, the Earth's most fearsome and spectacular creatures vanished. Today their extraordinary true story remains one of our planet's great mysteries.

In this stunning narrative spanning more than 200 million years, Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field - discovering 10 new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork - masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy. Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages.

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers - themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period - into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs' peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth's history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a "sixth extinction".

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research - which he calls "a new golden age of discovery" - and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

An electrifying scientific history that unearths the dinosaurs' epic saga, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs will be a definitive and treasured account for decades to come.

©2018 Stephen Brusatte (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Patrick Lawlor's narration injects Brusatte's enthusiasm into the informative writing.... Listeners who love dinosaurs will thrill to the latest developments in their history." (AudioFile)

What members say

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"The Rise of the Scientists Who Study Dinosaurs"

Are you interested in learning about dinosaurs? You should probably find another book. Are you dying to learn about the individual talents and idiosyncrasies of the people who research dinosaurs for a living? Then you're going to love this book! Steve Brusatte utterly fails to make a compelling narrative about dinosaurs, but he succeeds in telling you which "celebrity" scientist identified each dinosaur, where they were born, where they got their PhD, who they studied under, etc. As a scientist by trade I think one of the worst traits of our culture is the tendency to laud the scientist over the science. I came to this book hoping to learn about another scientific discipline and was very disappointed to get a crash course in modern history. The book is roughly 30% dinosaurs and 70% scientist. What a disappointment.

406 of 418 people found this review helpful

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1 part dinosaurs : 2 parts filler

If you want a collection of mediocre character sketches and personal anecdotes from a paleontologist, sometimes sprinkled with information about dinosaurs, this is the book for you! It's also a great choice if you prefer quantity of audible hours over quality of book.

On the other hand, if you're actually interested in learning about the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, you've got a lot of chaff in the way. The periodic discussions of what we know about Pangaea, early dinosaurs, T-Rex evolution, and more are fascinating, sure. But the author seems to spend as much, if not more, time describing paleontologists he has met or his own personal experiences, than he does actually sharing scientific information.

133 of 137 people found this review helpful

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Dinosaurs and the scientists that study them

I did learn about dinosaurs by listening to this book. So in that regard it was a good listen. But agree with other reviewers that the author spent too much time lauding his many friends and telling his and others’ life stories.

76 of 78 people found this review helpful

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Was hoping for something better

I'm always looking for good science nonfiction. This book was on several "best of" lists, but I don't know why. The author does not tell an engaging story. He spends a lot of time on his two favorite topics: dinosaurs and myself. Less memoir and more time developing the arch of a story would have been preferred. The narrater didn't help the cause.

Also, too many lists of latin names. Having the book might make it easier to follow. Then one could match names with a picture.

The book is full of information and the author does a nice job of explaining the end of the dinosaurs. It wasn't a waste of time, but overall the book was a disappointment.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Me Me Me Me Me - and a Few Dinosaurs

If I were a dinosaur, or a descendent of one, I would sue. The title of this book makes it look like a book about dinosaur history - but no, it's actually a book about Steve Brusatte. Oh, and all the amazing, brilliant, outrageous paleontologists he knows and all the fun things they do when they are not finding dino bones - which is a lot of the time, as it turns out.

I already thought 10 hours was too little to do justice to the topic - but this book doesn't seem to have more than a few hours about dinosaurs themselves.

For a better survey of life on Earth, try A New History of Life or Great Courses Origin and Evolution of Earth.

Now we just need a real book about dinosaur history!

173 of 180 people found this review helpful

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Too much drama and personal history

The information in this book relating to the rise and the fall of the dinosaurs is interesting and I enjoyed it. The author seems intent on including his own history as well, which I enjoyed less. The narrator could have been less dramatic......

40 of 41 people found this review helpful

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Meh

I wanted more info about the dinosaurs and less about fashion habits of the people that found the fossils. I had high hopes and wanted so much more.

59 of 64 people found this review helpful

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Surprising and I will tell you why

This book was surprising. I like dinossaurs, but from the begining of listening I thought it was going to be a really boring book, but it is not. This book is surprising and very interesting with so much facts about the ancients most amazing birds.

First the autor tells about the ancestors of dinossaurs that lived in a earth dominated by reptiles, and the book goes following the time line presenting facts in a very well organized way. I loved this book and the insights it provide about science, evolution, nature and of course birds.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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so surprised -- I loved it!!

This was a total whim purchase (yeah, never been interested in Dinosaurs and also not much of a nonfiction reader)... and it was great!!! I found myself telling my friends and family all these dinosaur facts throughout my listen. I really really enjoyed it, and the writing style was done in such a way that it was never dry or boring-- really felt like he was just telling an engaging story he loved. It kept me coming back for more.

30 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good topic. Okay narration.

As a science teacher, I was very excited to listen. Overall, the book is good. If you're interested in dinosaurs or in the sciences you should definitely listen. The author is a paleontologist and writes knowledgeable about earth history, evo!ution, the history of American palentology, dinosaur physiology, and more. I certainly did learn a great deal.

The narrator does over emphasize a lot of the time, and it took me some getting used to. His voice is good, but is at some times over dramatic, annoyingly so. The content is so that the listener can excuse this, though.

The author's writing is good. Informative, entertaining. Sometimes the analogies are weak or a phrase seems unpolished, but, hey, I haven't written a book so this guy has one up on me.

Again, if you like any or a combination of the sciences listed, or just dinosaurs, buy. Totally worth it.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful