Dinosaurs in the Attic - An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History
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First published: November 1986
Publisher: St Martin's Press

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Dinosaurs in the Attic is the book that brought Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston together. Preston had been writing a column for Natural History magazine when Child, then a rising young editor at St. Martin’s Press, called him up and asked him to write a book about the museum. Dinosaurs in the Attic was the result, written by Douglas Preston and edited by Lincoln Child.

Later Child suggested they write a thriller set in the Museum, and Relic was the result. Chapters in Dinosaurs in the Attic also inspired other novels, including The Ice Limit and Preston’s solo novel, Jennie.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York is one of the best-loved museums in the United States. Some four million people come through its doors every year. They marvel at the dinosaur skeletons, the meteorites, the elephants and the gems. And yet less than five percent of the Museum’s collections are on display.

Beyond the exhibition halls, along seemingly endless corridors, basement rooms, attic vaults and locked cabinets, the Museum houses a veritable stockpile of world records: the biggest elephant tusks, the finest uncut emerald, the world’s smallest beetle, millions of spiders, butterflies, dinosaur bones, whales, diamonds, gold masks, gigantic rubies, thousands of mummies, shrunken heads, and much more.

How was all this started? Who amassed these fabulous collections, and how? Here you will read the true story of the discovery and transportation of the world’s largest meteorite; the discovery of the first T. Rex; the incredible theft of the Star of India in the biggest jewel heist in history; the bizarre story of the Copper Man; the failed search for the “Arctic Atlantis,” and much more. You will read stories of expeditions to the ends of the earth, true tales of heroism, defeat, discovery, death, madness, and even murder—all in the pursuit of science.

Dinosaurs in the Attic takes the reader into the deepest sub-basements of the Museum and uncovers hidden treasures never seen by the public. It sheds new light on familiar exhibits and halls, talking to the scientists and curators who created them.

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