cover image Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History

Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History

Stephen Jay Gould. Harmony, $25 (409pp) ISBN 978-0-517-70393-9

In his seventh volume of witty and erudite essays, Gould casts a wide net, though he always returns to the central theme of evolution. His topics are diverse: Edgar Allan Poe's bestseller, a textbook on shells; Alfred, Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam as an account of the psychology of mourning; the infamous Wannsee Protocol, Hitler's plan for the ``final solution of the Jewish question.'' Gould is a master of making connections--Linnaeus and Erasmus Darwin (Charles's grandfather), the Razumosky brothers, Aleksei and Andrei; King Lear and the importance of negative results. He discusses evolutionary spin-doctoring, fossil whales, movies (Jurassic Park), museums and theme parks. As might be expected, Gould takes a swipe at creationists. Dinosaur measures up in every way to Bully for Brontosaurus; readers will not be disappointed. Illustrations. (Jan.)