Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History

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Overview

Stephen Jay Gould is world class. He sets the standard. When it comes to popular scientific essays, he leads the (small) pack.

This collection of 35 pieces, all first appeared in Natural History magazine. It includes essays on language, the role of chance in history, the evolution of life and the human family tree. And Gould treats us to his favorite, "In a Jumbled Drawer," where he examines racism in 19th century science.

"Gould combines information with charm and humor," ...

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Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History

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Overview

Stephen Jay Gould is world class. He sets the standard. When it comes to popular scientific essays, he leads the (small) pack.

This collection of 35 pieces, all first appeared in Natural History magazine. It includes essays on language, the role of chance in history, the evolution of life and the human family tree. And Gould treats us to his favorite, "In a Jumbled Drawer," where he examines racism in 19th century science.

"Gould combines information with charm and humor," (Atlantic) and "extols advances in science like the space probe Voyager." (Kirkus Reviews)

The many fans who have come to expect a uniquely broad range of subject and elegant, discerning prose from Stephen Jay Gould will be delighted with this new collection, which the author considers by far his best. These essays record a sixty-year battle against creationism, the bicentennial of the French Revolution, the triumph of Voyager's fly-by of Neptune, and other wonders of the world. Drawings.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Successor to The Panda's Thumb , The Flamingo's Smile and other books, this collection of essays from Natural History magazine may be Gould's finest to date. Focusing on evolution, oddities of nature, remote connections between historical figures and the battle against creationism, the author is severely critical of science education in the U.S. and, in ``The Case of the Creeping Fox Terrier,'' textbook publishers who fail to adequately update their revisions. He introduces the French Royal Commission of 1784 and its investigation of Mesmerism as an example of logic; discourses on the real origin of baseball; attempts to reconstruct the human family tree. In ``Justice Scalia's Misunderstanding,'' Gould chides Antonin Scalia for his dissent in the 1987 Supreme Court creationism case; the justice, he argues, equated creation and evolution. Whether his topic is typewriter design, the technical triumph of Voyager or Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak, Gould holds our attention. His essays are illuminating, instructive and fun to read. Photos. BOMC selection; History Book Club featured alternate. May
Library Journal
Gould is a masterful essayist whose previous collections, such as The Flamingo's Smile LJ 9/15/85, as well as other titles, notably Wonderful Life LJ 9/1/89, have been well received. Most of the essays here, some with added postscripts and notes, were selected from his column in Natural History magazine 1985-90. Like those in his previous collections, these pithy essays focus on evolution and the workings of science. Gould's fans, serious readers many of whom eagerly await his essays to appear in book form, will find these works fascinating, literate, and often challenging--vintage Gould. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/90.-- Joseph Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History
Washington Post Book World
No living scientist who writes for the public has a better claim to the mantle of Thomas Huxley in range of interests and felicity of style. . . . Bully for Brontosaurus is the fifth and finest selection.— David Fromkin
David Fromkin - Washington Post Book World
“No living scientist who writes for the public has a better claim to the mantle of Thomas Huxley in range of interests and felicity of style. . . . Bully for Brontosaurus is the fifth and finest selection.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393029611
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1991
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 540
  • Product dimensions: 5.87 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Jay Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Stephen Jay Gould
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 10, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      May 20, 2002
    2. Place of Death:
      Boston, Massachusetts

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    good read had to put down

    good read had to put down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 1999

    Satisfactory but Misleading

    After reading Bully for Brontosaurus, I had more pleasant things to say about the book than I did displeasing. For one, I enjoyed the writing style of Mr. Gould. He took difficult material and simplified it through his writing. Not only did his unique writing style impress me but also I was awe stricken by the topics discussed. Each topic dealt with an aspect of evolution that left me to ponder what life might be like if past events had not occurred. Another quality of the book included Gould¿s thorough knowledge of the subject matter discussed. He gave explicit interpretations of the theories at hand and voiced his own opinions and beliefs. The book was impressive but not everything was satisfactory. Although I enjoyed the material, I felt like the title was misleading. I purchased the book with nothing but dinosaurs in mind and received a little more than I bargained for. In addition, his writing style was pleasing but at times, he skipped from subject to subject which left me with nothing but confusion. As I said before the majority of my thoughts on this book are favorable but not all were pleasant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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