Dry Store Room No 1 The Secret Life Of The Natural History Museum Hardcover – Jan 10 2008
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'Fortey!in his affectionate portrayal of the institution in which he spent his working life!sneaks us behind the scenes with all the glee of a small child seeing for the first time the museum's iconic Diplodocus skeleton!always authoritative!the beauty of the book is that -- just like a museum -- you can visit the different sections in any order you choose, lingering in the places that most take your fancy!and there is plenty of solid science to enjoy, elucidated with brilliant flair.' Sunday Times 'Immensely satisfying!not just enjoyable and informative, but inspiring.' The Independent 'Richard Fortey!a superb writer, is the perfect guide to the extraordinary Victorian edifice that he compares several times to Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast.' The Guardian 'An enchanting book.' Sunday Express 'Teeming with life, Fortey's prose is eloquent, lively and suffused with often self--deprecating humour.' New Statesman 'Fortey has a scientist's regard for fact but a poet's delight in wonder. This is a rare intoxicating insight into a hidden community intent on unlocking the universe's myriad secrets.' Metro 'Engaging!Fortey's writing is enough to make the behind--the--scenes work of the museum totally fascinating!(his) delightful book, like the museum it describes, is both rambling and elegant.' Sunday Telegraph 'Compendious and entertaining!much of the narrative interest of the book is carried anecdotally, by wonderful stories!it is a book filled with a passion for nature and pride in an institution that has done so much to compile its inventory. Fortey is a knowledgeable guide, with a keen eye and gentle humour' Evening Standard 'Richard Fortey's wonderful book!shows the unspectacular elements of the museum collection as the most interesting part of its work, while placing the well-known exhibits in a new and often comical light!with eccentricity flourishing unchecked among its staff Fortey has amassed a brilliant collection of anecdotes about their habits' Daily Telegraph 'His glorious new book is generously illustrated!the tale he tells is often very funny as well as erudite!it is impossible to avoid list--making in reviewing such a book. Really, all that needs to be said is simply read it, and enjoy it.' Country Life More praise for 'Dry Store Room No. 1': 'This book is worthy of the place it tells us about, and that is a pretty lofty chunk of praise' The Times 'In this loving survey of his life at the museum, Fortey!is never less than enthused by all the museum's collections' Financial Times 'Fortey!in his affectionate portrayal of the institution in which he spent his working life!sneaks us behind the scenes with all the glee of a small child seeing for the first time the museum's iconic Diplodocus skeleton!always authoritative!the beauty of the book is that -- just like a museum -- you can visit the different sections in any order you choose, lingering in the places that most take your fancy!and there is plenty of solid science to enjoy, elucidated with brilliant flair' Sunday Times 'Engaging!Fortey's writing is enough to make the behind-the-scenes work of the museum totally fascinating!(his) delightful book, like the museum it describes, is both rambling and elegant' Sunday Telegraph 'Fortey has a scientist's regard for fact but a poet's delight in wonder. This is a rare intoxicating insight into a hidden community intent on unlocking the universe's myriad secrets' Metro Praise for 'The Earth': 'Richard Fortey is without peer among science writers.' Bill Bryson '"The Earth" is a true delight: full of awe-inspiring details!it blends travel, history, reportage and science to create an unforgettable picture of our ancient earth.' Sunday Times 'This is not a book for people who like science books. It is a book for people who love books, and life!Fortey has written a wonderful book.' Tim Radford, Guardian 'Read this book because it is, indeed, the best natural history of the first four billion years of life on earth.' John Gribbin, Sunday Times '[an] enchanting book...it cannot be denied that the denizens of the Natural History Museum...might well be the ones to ride to the rescue and help reverse or check the environmental catastrophes that increasingly face us' Sunday Express 'Fortey writes beautifully and this is a wonderful biography of rock and life!He has restored palaeontology to its rightful place in the pantheon.' Lewis Wolpert, Observer 'The tale of life needs constant retelling. Thank some happy accident of history that we have Fortey to tell it to us anew.' Ted Nield, New Scientist 'This book is a metaphor: a book about a museum that is itself a museum...a natural history of the Natural History Museum. It contains collections, of objects and of people; it educates and entertains; it helps you to see the world, and the NHM with new eyes.' Spectator
About the Author
Richard Fortey retired from his position as senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in 2006. He has won both the Lewis Thomas and Michael Faraday medals for his science writing. He was elected President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year in 2007, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Fortey's central message is important: the sort of basic (often morphological) systematic and taxonomic work that is being done in museums is important and should not be diminished by administrators' love of "sexy" techniques or charismatic taxa. Our intellectual landscape is being shrunken by the ever-increasing trend to turn museums into sites of performance and tourism rather than of research.
Those familiar with museums will recognize many archetypal figures. Members of the public will get a wonderful insight into what goes on behind the scenes. I highly recommend this book.
It might seem an odd ambition to try to get everyone to pronounce a word correctly. But mine has always been to get the world to say "trilobite" without fudging, and with a certain measure of understanding. My own mother was wont to say "troglodyte," which at least has a certain prehistoric dimension, even if it refers to human cave dwellers rather than extinct arthropods several hundred million years older than humans.
"Did you have a nice week with the troglodytes, dear?" was one of her regular enquiries.
As this (hopefully) illustrates, Fortey is a capable and humorous guide, one who can impart information without the reader minding it a bit. And this book isn't just about hidden exhibits and research. Some of its most fascinating specimens are the humans who work behind the scenes.
One of Fortey's particular strengths is what I call the "Doug Henning Superpower." Older readers may remember Doug Henning as a tie-dyed magician with big hair. Although he should have been aggravating, Henning was able to look as amazed as his audiences at the wonders he wrought onstage. Fortey has this ability as well; he is a guide who takes us behind the scenes of the Natural History Museum with a convincing demeanor of excitement and wonder.
And it's contagious!