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Dale Russell

Toronto, University of Toronto Press with the National Museum of Natural Sciences, 1989. 240pp, cloth, $45.00
ISBN 0-8020-5815-9. CIP

Reviewed by Peter Croskery.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

Russell is the curator of Fossil Verte­brates at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Ottawa. His previous book, A Vanished World: The Dinosaurs of Western Canada (National Museum of Natural Sciences, 1977) is an excellent introduction to Canada's dinosaur history.

The strengths of Russell's book are the topic itself and the authority the author brings to the subject. The content is very complex and hard to follow, partly because of the detail presented. Many readers will find the language and vocabulary to be a struggle. This is not the kind of book one can read and digest in a single sitting.

I would have found the inclusion of a "modern-day" North American map a useful reference feature. Such a map would have given me a greater sense of identity with both the specific sites being discussed and the author's explanations of how geologic events might have occurred.

The artistic reconstructions by Eleanor Kish are superb and give the reader a sense of what these fascinating creatures might have looked like. The photo support by Harry Foster is visually strong with excellent colour re­production but appears repetitive. (This is not a criticism of the photographer, but rather of the design.) Several pictures of assembled dinosaur skele­tons might have been interesting for those of us who don't have access lo the museums with these displays.

The last chapter, "The Meaning of the Dinosaurs," I found the most enjoyable. This chapter, along with Chapter 9, "The Extinction of the Dinosaurs," in which Russell presents his theory of a cosmic event including the bombard­ment of earth with waves of high energy radiation wiping out life at the time of the dinosaurs, makes fascinating reading.

However, the combination of price and technical detail will hurt sales of this book.

Peter Croskery, Kenora, Ont.
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