I’m a history geek, I’ll admit it. English and History were always my favorite subjects in school, and my history courses in college are so far the only ones I’ve ever looked forward to. I’d love to major in some form of history if I could, and when I go back to college I’m going to seriously consider it.
With that in mind, this book seemed like it was written just for me. I wish I had read it on the plane ride to New York so that I could step into the halls of the American Museum of Natural History with this book fresh on my mind. I want to make a trip there, now. Instead, I’m contenting myself by looking up books on dinosaurs in the library catalog, like a ten-year-old.
Reading Douglas Preston’s book is like taking a step back in time to the days when explorers were hardy men who would stop at nothing to secure specimens for exhibits, record the myths of a tribe long-dying, take photographs of the most remote places on Earth, and travel in the footsteps of dinosaurs. He chronicles the history of the museum, picking out the most fascinating bits and pieces, yet I’m sure he’s left information out. There are so many stories here, and only so much space to print them. It left me with the sure feeling that behind the doors of the museum are hundreds of thousands of stories.
The second part of the book is a wander about the museum, exploring little-known nooks and crannies and, again, telling some fascinating stories – the stories, again, straight out of movies: jewel thieves, skeletonized horses, birds and amphibians and reptiles and mammals and humans galore. It’s fascinating, thrilling, and sad.
I greatly enjoyed this book and I’m sure I’ll be checking it out again in the future to reread.