Book Club, History, Nonfiction, STEM

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte

Another Nonfiction book club pick! This particular book came to us highly recommended from one of my coworkers, and overall it was one we greatly enjoyed!


From the back cover:
Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today the dinosaurs remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their thrilling 200-million-year-long story as never before.

American paleontologist Steve Brusatte masterfully brings to life the lost world of the dinosaurs, illuminating their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy. Equally drawing on his own groundbreaking findings and the cutting-edge research of the women and men who are revolutionizing our understanding of these astonishing creatures. Brusatte’s captivating narrative – generously illustrated with original drawing and photographs – traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers in the Triassic period into the dominant array of species that arose during the dinosaurs’ peak.

In the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, thousands of species thrived, including T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, Velociraptor, and more, as well as winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds. The story dramatically concludes at the end of the Cretaceous, 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.”


Dinosaurs were never much of an interest to me, but when put to a vote with the book club, it was one that many of the members were interested in reading. And I do think the whole point of a book club is to expand your reading horizons and read books you wouldn’t otherwise pick up. For me, Nonfiction Book Club is about 50/50 what I want to read anyway and books that I probably wouldn’t pick up on my own.

I thought I knew the history of dinosaurs – they evolved, lived, died out – and then the mammals evolved on the earth. But to learn that there were proto-dinosaurs, mammals who lived in harmony with the dinosaurs, and how they died out – I was beyond fascinated. For some reason, despite my friend’s recommendation, I was convinced it would be dry and uninteresting. This was really a baseless assumption and I’m disappointed in myself for making it.

Steve Brusatte has a strong sense of narrative structure as well as a great love for dinosaurs and, more importantly, the time in which they lived. I have never read a book that gave me such a clear picture of what the world as a whole was like during a particular time period or era. He delves into how the geography of Pangea, global temperatures, and other features that made up dinosaurs’ daily lives effect their time on our planet. Overall, I was incredibly, pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs.

Rating: 9 out of 10

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is the perfect gift for…
every grown up who never gave up their childhood love of dinosaurs, science lovers of all ages, and anyone fascinated by little known facts the rest of the world pretends to know all about.

Where to buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through IndieBound or your local independent (most of us received signed copies from the publisher!), in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.

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