Dinomania

Why We Love, Fear and Are Utterly Enchanted by Dinosaurs

Boria Sax

Dinomania

Boria Sax

Distributed for Reaktion Books

272 pages | 75 color plates, 75 halftones | 6 3/4 x 8 3/4
Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9781789140040 Published November 2018 For sale in North and South America only

From Jurassic Park to Sue the T-Rex and Barney, our dino love affair is as real, as astonishing, and as incomprehensible as the gargantuan beasts themselves. At once reptilian and avian, dinosaurs enable us to imagine a world far beyond the usual boundaries of time, culture, and physiology. We envision them in diverse and contradictory ways, from purple friends to toothy terrors—reflecting, in part, our changing conceptions of ourselves. Not unlike humans today, dinosaurs seem at once powerful, almost godly, and helpless in the face of cosmic forces even more powerful than themselves.

In Dinomania, Boria Sax, a leading authority on human-animal relations, tells the story of our unlikely romance with the titanic saurians, from the discovery of their enormous bones—relics of an ancient world—to the dinosaur theme parks of today. That discovery, around the start of the nineteenth century, was intimately tied to our growing awareness of geological time and the dawn of the industrial era. Dinosaurs’ vast size and power called to mind railroads, battleships, and factories, making them, paradoxically, emblems of modernity. But at the same time, their world was nature at its most pristine and unsullied, the perfect symbol of childhood innocence and wonder. Sax concludes that in our imaginations dinosaurs essentially are, and always have been, dragons; and as we enter a new era of environmental threats in which dinos provide us a way to confront indirectly the possibility of human extinction, their representation is again blending with the myth and legend from which it emerged at the start of the modern age.

Fun and ferocious, and featuring many superb illustrations of dinosaurs from art, popular culture, film, and advertising, Dinomania is a thought-provoking homage to humanity's enduring dinosaur amour.

Review Quotes
Booklist
"Our fascination with these Mesozoic creatures has influenced thousands of years of culture, art, literature, religion, and science. How can this be, when dinosaurs weren't identified by humans until the mid-nineteenth century? . . . In this wide-reaching social history of the dinosaur-human relationship, Sax brings the story up to the present by highlighting contemporary museum exhibits, amusement parks, genre fiction, movies, and toys. With many historical illustrations, Dinomania is an entertaining addition to literature on popular science, pop culture, and public opinions.”
Garry Marvin, professor of human–animal studies, University of Roehampton, London, and author of "Wolf"

“In this erudite, wide-ranging and engaged work, Sax explores the cultural flesh that has been wrapped around the fossilized bones of these iconic creatures. He asks, ‘What is a dinosaur?’ and shows that the answer is not merely a scientific one but is intimately linked to wider cultural trends and concerns. Extinct they might be, but Sax reveals how dinosaurs live on among us.”

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