There is no lack of fascinating anecdotes, but mostly this is a dense catalog that will primarily interest paleontology...

KING OF THE DINOSAUR HUNTERS

THE LIFE OF JOHN BELL HATCHER AND THE DISCOVERIES THAT SHAPED PALEONTOLOGY

From a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, an exhaustive biography of an adventurous bone hunter, a leading figure in the heroic age of American paleontology.

Son of an Illinois farmer and fascinated by fossils, John Bell Hatcher (1861-1904) worked his way through Yale and impressed superiors who sent him west to where rich, new fossil beds had produced a rush of professional diggers and amateur fortune hunters. He quickly proved his value, finding and shipping east tons of precious fossils and fossil-bearing material but also showing a precision and delicacy in dealing with the specimens—which, despite being rock, are delicate—that became the accepted technique. For 20 years, he was in great demand, producing a steady stream of discoveries from digs in the United States and Patagonia despite working under often miserable conditions. Promoted to curator of paleontology at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh in 1900, Hatcher, who had health problems throughout his life, died suddenly at age 42. Hatcher’s prolific correspondence to his employers has been largely preserved, and his discoveries sit in museums across the world. This is ample raw material for an engaging biography, but Dingus (Hell Creek, Montana: America's Key to the Prehistoric Past, 2004, etc.) mostly draws on it to deliver an extremely detailed, chronological record of Hatcher’s travels, travails, and discoveries, a relentless series of itineraries, equipment inventories, expenses, business quarrels, descriptions of bones discovered, their species, and ultimate destination, often including their museum catalog number in case readers want to look them up. The author also includes a 14-page glossary of genera.

There is no lack of fascinating anecdotes, but mostly this is a dense catalog that will primarily interest paleontology buffs. Readers searching for a history of the stormy late-19th-century dinosaur discoveries should try The Bonehunters’ Revenge (1999) by David Rains Wallace.

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68177-865-5

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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