|This reminds me of something from a long time ago.|
Dinosaurs: HTLE (or just Dinosaurs, as I should probably start calling it) is about as up-to-date as popular dinosaur books get. It's not unimpressive given how long these things take to go from concept to publication. Inside, you'll find Yi qi (Emily Willoughby's illustration is given no less than a full page to itself), short-legged Spinosaurus, a description of Deinocheirus beyond 'mystery arms, woo!', and much more besides. Furthermore, birds are described as living dinosaurs with absolutely no apologies or concessions made to those who might find the idea hard to swallow. There's even a chapter dedicated to the Cenozoic history of birds. Of course, it isn't the first popular book to do this, but few are so thorough in placing birds in their correct place as members of the wider Dinosauria. This is especially welcome given the disconnect between dinosaurs and birds in the museum itself (although that will surely change in time).
|The photos (taken by me) are of somewhat deliberately bad quality and are only here to give an impression. Honestly, the print quality of the book is very good.|
The text is exhaustive and factual - it's not as fun a read as, say, Darren's The Great Dinosaur Discoveries, with more of the feel of a particularly well-written and informative textbook. Of course, one should consider that this is aimed at a general audience. Us dinosaur, er, enthusiasts love text that's full of knowing nods and winks, and knowing that your audience will already have a certain level of familiarity with the subject frees one up to be a bit more lively. Dinosaurs needs to aim wider than that. It is a book that, cover-to-cover, could bring a complete novice more-or-less up to speed with the current state of dinosaur science (no mean feat), and there's simply so much fascinating information to take in that they can't possibly get bored along the way.
It's all too tempting to say that the more well-informed enthusiast won't find all that much new in here. Well, you might have seen a lot of it before, but there's always something you'll have forgotten about, skipped over, or was announced on a day when you were too busy drinking yourself into a stupor in order to erase the Brexit referendum from your memory. The remarkable, concise section of living bird diversity and phylogenetic relationships knocked me sideways; it's one of my favourite parts of the book just for cramming so much great stuff in. There's also a great deal of lovely artwork in here, too, with contributions from John Conway, Emily Willoughby, Julius Cstonyi, Bob Nicholls, John Sibbick, and more. Contrasting with the cover, most of the artwork inside is thoroughly up-to-date and very beautiful.
So, should you get it? Yeah, you should get it. It's essentially the perfect summation of 'where we're up to' with dinosaur science, allowing for differences in opinion and areas where More Research is Needed. If you know anyone who's recently developed (or redeveloped) a healthy interest in dinosaurs, you should thrust this book their way without any hesitation, safe in the knowledge that you're giving them exactly the right education. This is the complete picture, from what lived where and when, to biology, ecology, life habits and the latest research techniques, covering every dinosaur clade including the one that's still with us. It's one of the best popular dinosaur books out there, and I thoroughly encourage everyone to purchase one to encourage more of this sort of thing. Just...consider getting a replacement dust jacket into the bargain.