Review by Booklist Review
The Wild West: home of outlaws, showdowns, rustlers, raids and dinosaur wars? It seems impossible, but as recently as 200 years ago, most people were ignorant of these prehistoric creatures. When troves of bones surfaced out west during the mid-1800s, it ignited fierce competition to find, classify, and excavate skeletons, led by two polar opposites: Edward Cope and Othniel Marsh. Cope was an overeducated, passionate, self-funded prodigy; Marsh had a sketchy education, family money, and connections. These opposing parties schemed to secure the rarest, biggest, longest, and most complete treasures, resorting to spies, lies, thievery, disclaimers, accusations, and written warfare in science journals. In their haste to out-do each other, mistakes were made: identical specimens cataloged under multiple names, body parts mixed up, skulls mounted backwards (or even on the wrong end). The entertaining text reports this evolving chaos in an accessible, engaging style, deftly integrating historical events (the Civil War, Custer's Last Stand), sidebars, and period illustrations. The cover will attract browsers, and the delivery and fresh content should satisfy readers paleontologists or otherwise.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The title of this account aptly references both the breakthrough discoveries and the obsessive rivalry between two 19th-century American paleontologists. Born into a Quaker family in Philadelphia, Edward Cope was a self-taught prodigy with a passion for the natural sciences. While traveling in Europe, Cope met Othniel Charles Marsh, who would become Yale's first professor of paleontology, and the two bonded over their shared ambition-before "the blade of rivalry" severed their friendship. Noyes (The Magician and the Spirits) provides a snappily written account of the equally indomitable scientists' frenzied race to be the first to locate, excavate, and assemble dinosaur bones and name species. Laced with jealousy, betrayal, sabotage, and revenge, this quest brings them to various sites as their professional and personal enmity plays out in the press. The author provides insight into the rivals' outsize personalities and casts their story against the volatile political, territorial, and economic landscapes of the era. Still, while she acknowledges that white Americans were then conducting an "attack on the Plains Indians' way of life," her language veers into bias in places, generalizing the Crow as "congenial" and "peaceful" and some lands as "unknown terrain." Sidebars and cameos give the book additional historical context. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-The conflict between two pioneering 19th-century scientists provides a framework for detailing the burgeoning scientific fields of evolutionary theory and paleontology in this accessible history for younger readers. Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh came to their professional scientific careers in the wake of the U.S. Civil War from very distinct backgrounds and achieved prominence through different means, but they began work as contemporaries and affable colleagues and ended as bitter enemies. Noyes details Marsh and Cope's individual accomplishments, their feud and its repercussions, contemporary developments in the scientific community that impacted their work, and the popular interest in science that supported their research and gave an audience to their dispute. The discovery of troves of pre-historic bones in the opening American West provided an apt landscape upon which Marsh and Cope could act out their resentments toward each other, use the media to shape the public's understanding of dinosaurs and science as a discipline, and outline the direction of paleontology for generations to come. Detailed sidebars and insets give the history and science behind Cope and Marsh's work and the ways that the pair have influenced paleontology and scientific inquiry today. -VERDICT An exciting retelling of the passionate rivalry between two researchers, and the dinosaurs that ignited their intellectual labors and fueled their conflict. Recommended for middle and high school nonfiction collections.-Kelly Kingrey-Edwards, Blinn Junior College, Brenham, TX © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Noyes takes readers back to the mid-nineteenth century, when much of the worlds population believed that the Earth was formed in seven days just a few thousand years previously, and that the then-contemporary animals had always existed. Paleontologists, just creating their discipline, began to find flaws in those beliefs as they unearthed giant fossilized bones, bones that captured the publics imagination. As the demand grew for more and more information that would explain the fossils and (not incidentally) validate Darwins findings, scientists clamored to provide it. In America a frenzy to acquire fossils erupted, primarily defined by two early paleontologists seemingly motivated more by selfish desires than altruistic efforts to set the natural history record straight. These two men, Edward Cope and Othniel Marsh, competed for bones, money, and recognition, a competition that resulted in shady deals, reputational slights, and, ironically, a public feud that ultimately became more famous than their individual scientific contributions. By providing alternate chapters for each, Noyes reinforces their animosity by showing first one side and then the other, allowing readers to participate in the volley of their arguments. The deep green used for the informational sidebars, fore edges, and chapter dividers and some of the type suggests an appropriately primordial atmosphere. Appended with source notes, a list of fossil collections in the U.S., a bibliography, and an index. betty carter September/October 2019 p.117(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Colleagues become bitter rivals in this tale of scientific discovery set during paleontology's heady early days.Rightly judging that Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh would be less remembered for their achievements than their feud, Noyes highlights the latter, which resulted in a vicious "Scientific Smackdown" rabid enough to become a public spectacle. She sets it amid a wide-angled account of how rich fossil discoveries in the 19th century, particularly in the American West, fueled sometimes-unscrupulous races to find more even as natural science was undergoing some revolutionary growing pains. With liberal use of period illustrations and side essays, she tells a tale in which Buffalo Bill Cody and Red Cloud figure as prominently as Mary Anning and Charles Darwin, featuring Indiana Jones-style expeditions into rugged country at a time when the buffalo still roamed (if not for long) and the Battle of Little Bighorn was fresh news. Young readers interested in the intrepid exploits of the early fossil hunters have plenty of choices, from Kathryn Lasky's Bone Wars (1988) on, but it's a grand yarn nonetheless and, in this iteration, offers illuminating sidelights and updated lists of print and web resources.A fresh gander at the beginnings of dino-mania. (index, timeline, endnotes) (Nonfiction. 10-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.