Dinosaurs in the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History. Douglas J. Preston. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1986. 244 pp., illus. $18.95.
To paraphrase Robert Hutchins, whenever the urge to write an institutional history arises, it is best to let the urge pass. Dinosaurs in the Attic is the exception to the dreary litany of the past which characterizes most institutional histories.
Here is a thrilling "Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History." The book is a series of enthralling vignettes about scientific adventurers who have gone everywhere during the last 100 years discovering the natural and cultural patterns of our world. These are driven people who have always wanted to know more and who as "systematists" have laid the foundation for much of modern science. This book proves that people not structures make a great institution. What the book does not do, however,...
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