Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte

Title: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Author: Steve Brusatte

Page Count: 533

Publish Date: October 16. 2019

Publisher: Large Print Press

Buy The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs at Amazon.


The dinosaurs. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. Now The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs reveals their extraordinary, 200-million-year-long story as never before.

In this captivating narrative (enlivened with more than seventy original illustrations and photographs), Steve Brusatte, a young American paleontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of the field–naming fifteen new species and leading groundbreaking scientific studies and fieldwork–masterfully tells the complete, surprising, and new history of the dinosaurs, drawing on cutting-edge science to dramatically bring to life their lost world and illuminate their enigmatic origins, spectacular flourishing, astonishing diversity, cataclysmic extinction, and startling living legacy. Captivating and revelatory, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is a book for the ages.

Brusatte traces the evolution of dinosaurs from their inauspicious start as small shadow dwellers–themselves the beneficiaries of a mass extinction caused by volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Triassic period–into the dominant array of species every wide-eyed child memorizes today, T. rex, Triceratops, Brontosaurus, and more. This gifted scientist and writer re-creates the dinosaurs’ peak during the Jurassic and Cretaceous, when thousands of species thrived, and winged and feathered dinosaurs, the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, emerged. The story continues to the end of the Cretaceous period, when a giant asteroid or comet struck the planet and nearly every dinosaur species (but not all) died out, in the most extraordinary extinction event in earth’s history, one full of lessons for today as we confront a “sixth extinction.”

Brusatte also recalls compelling stories from his globe-trotting expeditions during one of the most exciting eras in dinosaur research–which he calls “a new golden age of discovery”–and offers thrilling accounts of some of the remarkable findings he and his colleagues have made, including primitive human-sized tyrannosaurs; monstrous carnivores even larger than T. rex; and paradigm-shifting feathered raptors from China.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

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My Review:

This book bounces between stories of paleontological finds from the author and his colleagues and a vision of the time of the dinosaurs, how they survived, their behaviors, and how their world changed over the course of their history.

As someone who has always had a bit of a fascination with dinosaurs, I enjoyed both aspects of this book.

Getting a look into paleontology, was great. While I have a basic understanding of the field, I enjoyed seeing more details on how certain findings were made. Not only that but how the difficulty level of each discovery depends on a multitude of factors.

From the academic side to the fieldwork, it was all very interesting.

It’s amazing that even to this day, new species are regularly being found, sometimes by paleontologists looking in a particular area, and other times, by random people out on a hike or working in their fields.

Learning how each of these discoveries goes from the initial find to restoration, classification, and storage of the fossils. I learned a ton from this part of the book, which was interspersed throughout.

However, my favorite part of the book was the in-depth look into the lives of dinosaurs throughout their time on Earth. Obviously, we will never know exactly what they did in their day-to-day lives, exactly how they interacted within their own species and those around them, but through these discoveries, it can help us to understand more about them and make assumptions based upon the evidence and existing species that are similar to the dinosaurs.

Not only that, but we get to learn about the creatures that came before the dinosaurs. Our knowledge of these is extremely limited, yet they give us clues as to how the world looked before the dinosaurs and what changes happened in the climate and landscape to wipe them out to make room for the new incoming dinosaur species.

On top of those, we get a glimpse of what came after the dinosaurs, the start of the mammals that still reign supreme today, and in this way, it’s a nice tie into his next book, which focuses on mammals.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book. It was slow at times and I would recommend taking it in a chapter at a time instead of reading it all at once. There is plenty to learn from it.

If you have an interest in dinosaurs or paleontology, then you are likely to enjoy this book. I have added his mammal book to my TBR and look forward to reading it.

I hope you enjoyed my review of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs.

Buy The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs at Amazon.


  1. A great review! Looking forward to sharing it with my son who loves Dinosaurs

    1. Author

      Thank you. I hope your son enjoys this book.

  2. Sounds like a great book! I will share it with my nephew. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Author

      Thank you. I hope your nephew enjoys it.

  3. Thanks so much for putting this together. I’m an avid reader but haven’t read anything on dinosaurs since school and that was an while ago. Just put this on my que.

    1. Author

      I’m glad to hear you’ve decided to pick this one up. I hope you enjoy it.

  4. Great review! Sounds so interesting!

    1. Author

      Thank you.

  5. Sounds like a great book! I find dinosaurs so intriguing! Thank you for this review.

    1. Author

      Thank you. Dinosaurs are so interesting and I loved learning more about them.

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