Book Review of Dinosaurs In The Attic : An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History

Dinosaurs In The Attic : An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History
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A really interesting and enjoyable look at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This was written by Douglas Preston who worked at the museum for seven years and is also the author along with Lincoln Child of one of my favorite series of thriller novels, the Pendergast stories. I can see now where Preston obtained a lot of his background information for the series and for some of his other novels such as Tyrannosaur Canyon and The Ice Limit. Of course, many of the Pendergast stories took place in the museum including Relic, Reliquary, Dance of Death, and Book of the Dead. The museum is also the setting for the popular movie Night at the Museum starring Ben Stiller and Robin Williams.

The book chronicles how the museum came to be and how its many collections were obtained. In its early years, the museum sponsored expeditions to obtain dinosaur fossils, acquire specimens from all over the world including Africa, South America, and Asia, and to explore uncharted areas of the earth like the Arctic. Much insightful and interesting information about the explorers and museum curators is included. One of the most interesting was Roy Chapman Andrews who was the real person who Indiana Jones was modeled after. He led an expedition for the museum to Outer Mongolia in search of dinosaur fossils and the missing link which was quite successful. Along the way he had to fight off bandits...he dressed with a gun at his hip and a rifle at the ready.

The book goes on to describe the museum's many collections including fossils, mammals, insects, birds, reptiles, anthropological exhibits, meteorites, and gems. Another interesting story related tells of the great jewel robbery of 1964 where many of the museum's priceless jewels were stolen (very reminiscent of Dance of Death by Preston & Child). Overall, I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone interested in natural history or any fan of the Preston/Child novels.