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House of Lost Worlds: “Loved This Book! It’s All There”

Posted by Richard Conniff on June 30, 2016

Fire set to discourage an 1870 Peabody Museum fossil hunt in the American West.

Fire set to discourage an 1870 Peabody Museum fossil hunt in the American West.

House of Lost Worlds coverIt has been amazingly difficult to get the mainstream press to review House of Lost Worlds, unlike anything I have experienced with all my previous books.

Editors seem to make a snap judgement that it’s just the story of one museum, with no significance outside New Haven.  They do not know what they are missing.

Here’s how historian William Hosley reacted in a review on Facebook today:

Finished Richard Conniff‘s ‪#‎HouseofLostWorld‬s – a 150th anniversary story about Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. Spellbound. Riveting. Best book on any aspect of museums I’ve ever read – and the history of museums is one of my favorite topics. Convinces me that Peabody is CT’s most important museum. If I was teaching a survey course on American History this would be on the syllabus. What a bold stroke to tell the story of an institution as

anchiornishuxley on wing

Anchiornis huxley, in full color.

a series of biographical profiles of pathbreakers in science and natural history. As institutional history (if that’s what it is) its unheard of in its combination of reverence and IRREVERANCE. If I’d read this book when I was young, I might have gone into the sciences. Seriously – do yourself a favor – get this book and dig in. Conniff begins and ends his mercifully-short, lavishly-illustrated chapters with openings and closings you will not believe – and filling is all good too. Loved this book! It’s all there – from the discovery of dinosaurs to the defense of evolution to Indiana Jones and the origins of conservation and ecology. Makes me proud to live in a place that spawns such genius. Yale University should be so so proud of this gem of a museum. David Heiser, Richard Kissel Melanie Gordon Brigockas Michael Morand – please share and thanks again for our awesome behind the scene tour and program recently!…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

And thank you, Mr. Hosley.

24.3 Bakker-dein-art-B30_1969.

The Peabody’s Deinonychus (before they knew about the feathers)


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