Books by Richard Kissel

Released: Aug. 27, 2008

Produced as a companion to an exhibit at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History, this handsomely designed album pairs photographed fossils and speculative but realistically detailed portraits of hundreds of creatures—nearly all extinct—with descriptive captions and short passages of text that draw connections between them and modern animals. With frequent pauses for side looks at the idea of natural selection, the spectacular array of specimens found at Fossil Lake, Wyo., and other special topics, the smooth narrative moves chronologically from the Cambrian period to the first appearances of Homo sapiens and ice-age mammals. The authors also discuss possible causes for each of five periodic mass extinctions, from the one that brought the Ordovician Period to an end about 450 million years ago to the one that's happening now. The large but digestible volume of information (lovers of polysyllabic names in particular will be in hog heaven) along with a coherent overview of life's development on our planet combine to boost this above the general run of prehistory panoramas. (Nonfiction. 10-13)Read full book review >