Danger in the Desert: True Adventures of a Dinosaur Hunter (Sterling Point Books Series)

Danger in the Desert: True Adventures of a Dinosaur Hunter (Sterling Point Books Series)

by Roger Cohen
     
 

In the movies, there’s Indiana Jones; but in the real world, there was Roy Chapman Andrews. Some say this fearless, larger-than-life adventurer—who, like Indiana, had a wide-brimmed hat, leather jacket, and six-shooter—may have been the inspiration for the big-screen hero.
From 1910 to 1930, Andrews led countless expeditions for theSee more details below

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Overview

In the movies, there’s Indiana Jones; but in the real world, there was Roy Chapman Andrews. Some say this fearless, larger-than-life adventurer—who, like Indiana, had a wide-brimmed hat, leather jacket, and six-shooter—may have been the inspiration for the big-screen hero.
From 1910 to 1930, Andrews led countless expeditions for the American Museum of Natural History, boldly facing such dangers as killer pythons, man-eating wild dogs, marauding bandits, blinding sandstorms, and imprisonment by corrupt officials. Even as China and Mongolia exploded in revolutionary chaos, he and his team of paleontologists intrepidly journeyed by car, camel, and horse through the uncharted Gobi desert where he discovered the largest deposits of dinosaur fossils ever seen. His group amazed the world with their discoveries—and scientists are still following in Andrews’s footsteps, digging in the rich sites he found.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
"Sterling Point Books," a series of biographies, which mostly cover explorers and warriors, includes this story of Roy Chapman Andrews, scientist and discoverer of dinosaur and mammal fossils in the early twentieth century. Some say that Andrews was the inspiration for fictional adventurer Indiana Jones. Handsome, dynamic, and ambitious, he certainly led an exciting life. Douglas Preston of New York's American Museum of Natural History—Andrews's sponsor—wrote: "Andrews was an accomplished stage master. He created an image and lived it out impeccably." Imagist or not, Andrews delivered the goods, leading expeditions to study whales and becoming a whale expert. The museum then funded trips to China and Mongolia, where Andrews assembled impressive scientific teams, who discovered dinosaur eggs (not known at the time), the prehistoric mammal Baluchitherium, and dinosaurs Protoceratops, Oviraptor, and Velociraptor. He became a celebrity, wrote books, lectured, and led several more expeditions, until revolution and war put an end to exploring in Mongolia; by 1934, Andrews had become director of the Museum of Natural History. Author Cohen, who has lived in Mongolia—where he interviewed some Mongolians who knew of Andrews—keeps the action flowing with highlights of the explorer's career (little is told of his personal life), supplemented by several maps and black-and-white photographs (including Andrews's caravan of Dodge motorcars) from the Museum's collection. Visual appeal would have been enhanced by color photos of the areas and people, but prospective paleontologists could easily be intrigued enough to read some of Andrews's own books and pursue further research.Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

World-famous paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, heralded as a real-life Indiana Jones, apparently had more lives than a cat. He once opined, "I can remember just ten times when I had really narrow escapes from death." Here, readers get a fascinating glimpse of his near-death experiences and all of his adventures in between. Raised in Wisconsin, Andrews was an avowed naturalist from an early age. He dabbled in hunting and, by the time he was in high school, he was considered a local taxidermy expert. After college, he journeyed to New York where he begged for a job at the American Museum of Natural History, offering to scrub the floors in exchange for a position. His hard work, intelligence, and tenacity soon paid off, and Andrews began a series of expeditions ranging from a whaling excursion in the Pacific Northwest to a government-intelligence mission in the Far East. His adventures culminated in a voyage to Mongolia, where he and his team stumbled across one of the biggest finds in paleontological history: The Flaming Cliffs of the Gobi Desert, a veritable treasure trove of dinosaur fossils. Readers will be riveted by Andrews's exploits, including being marooned on a deserted island and surviving a typhoon in Japan. The text is supplemented by a few small photos.-Kelly McGorray, Glenbard South High School Library, Glen Ellyn, IL

Kirkus Reviews
"True" in a broad sense at least, this profile of the distinctly Indiana Jones-like Roy Chapman Andrews sticks to the historical record in describing his monumental expeditions into remotest China and Mongolia. It is, however, well-stocked with invented details and dialogue-much of the latter not exactly lifelike: "The fossils are out there, Roy. Now it's time for you to go and find them." Cohen's narrative unfolds along similarly heavy lines ("To get through the difficult experiences that surely lay ahead, Roy would have to rely on the lucky star that had shone down on him ever since he was a boy"). Moreover, it jumps confusingly back and forth in time, and the stingy selection of small photos hardly does justice to either Andrews's adventures or the importance of his scientific discoveries. Young readers will be more effectively wowed by Ann Bausum's more accurate, coherent and far better illustrated Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs (2000). (Fictionalized biography. 11-13)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402757068
Publisher:
Sterling
Publication date:
08/05/2008
Series:
Sterling Point Books Series
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
920,869
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

ROGER COHEN is a columnist for The New York Times, where he has worked since 1990, primarily as Paris correspondent, bureau chief in the Balkans and Berlin, and foreign editor. Prior to that he was a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. His work has won wide recognition, including awards from the Overseas Press Club, and he has taught at Princeton and Harvard universities. Raised in South Africa and England, a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, he is a naturalized American.

@NYTimesCohen

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