The Dinosaur Artist by Paige Williams

The Dinosaur Artist

In 2012, a New York auction catalogue boasted an unusual offering: "a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton." In fact, Lot 49135 consisted of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to the most famous animal that ever lived. The fossils now on display in a Manhattan event space had been unearthed in Mongolia, more than 6,000 miles away. At eight-feet high and 24 feet long, the specimen was spectacular, and when the gavel sounded the winning bid was o...

Details The Dinosaur Artist

TitleThe Dinosaur Artist
Release DateSep 11th, 2018
PublisherHachette Books
GenreNonfiction, Science, Crime, True Crime, History, Animals, Dinosaurs, Mystery

Reviews The Dinosaur Artist

  • Bob Milne
    The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth's Ultimate Trophy wasn't quite the book I expected, but Paige Williams weaves an interesting exposé of the legal quagmire that is fossil collecting.As a dinosaur fanatic and amateur fossil hunter, I was fascinated - not to mention, a little bit terrified - by the consequences of collecting, transporting, and trafficking in fossils. It's so easy to pick up a brachiopod, a piece of ...
  • Matthew Budman
    Williams is a marvelous writer of paragraphs, and even of chapters: She beautifully captures scenes and characters and issues and history, and her prose sparkles. Nearly any reader will be fascinated by the issues that The Dinosaur Artist raises. And yet the book doesn't quite hold together.Beginning with the title, the author seems to take New Yorker colleague Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief as a model, and a writer could do far, far worse. But ...
  • Katie
    As the aunt of 6 year old “future paleontologist”, I have learned a good deal about dinosaurs and fossils in the last couple years. I have been looking forward all summer to reading The Dinosaur Artist, a well-researched narrative journalistic book about the controversy surrounding a Florida man who prepared and auctioned a Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton from fossils unearthed in Mongolia. The book did not disappoint. While I learned a conside...
  • Paul
    The Dinosaur Hunter starts with controversy then maps the geography of the fossil landscape, from hunters to politics to jealousies and poachers. Williams covers the history of paleontology as well that of natural history museums. There’s even some celebrity sighting: a Cage/ DiCaprio fight over a 67-million-year-old skull of a Tyrannosaurus Bataar. The Dinosaur Artist is a memorable read with great tension over the timeless themes of the hunt,...
  • Lizz DiCesare
    Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I love dinosaurs, so when I received a copy of The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal and the Quest for Earth's Ultimate Trophy, by Paige Williams, I was ecstatic. This book contained so many things that I like: dinosaurs, journalism, natural and political history; how could I not read it?This book evolved from an article that Paige wrote for The New Yorker, titled "Bones of Contention," which wa...
  • Erin
    Did you have a dinosaur phase? If you’ve ever stared at a giant dino skeleton in a museum (or uh, watched Jurassic Park) and had your imagination piqued, think about cracking open THE DINOSAUR ARTIST by Paige Williams, out today from Hachette Books.In telling the story of a single fossil skeleton sale which turns wildly contentious, Williams gives sympathetic voice to all the stakeholders in the fossil hunting game: museums, academics, passiona...
  • Greg Richardson
    This book is a true tragedy. There's an awesome story to be told and, eventually, that story is told. There's just way too much extraneous information included in this book to make it worth recommending. To say that it moves slowly is to say that dinosaurs lived a long time ago.Just when you think you're getting somewhere and that you have the necessary background to appreciate the complexities of the story, you get taken back on yet another deto...
  • Peter Tillman
    Closing out as DNF, as my library copy is coming due. I enjoyed her 2014 New Yorker article, which was the start of the book:, but the emboideries on that didn't add that much for me. I did enjoy her story of amateur fossil-digger Frank Garcia's big find in a Florida shell quarry, and her comments on the hostility of most academic paleontologists to amateurs (mostly unwarranted, imo). And her subject clear...
  • Marie
    When I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I have always been fascinated with dinosaurs. This is a story of Eric Prokopi who was a fossil hunter and dealer. He started looking for fossils when he was just a kid, As he got older, he found there was big money to be made selling all manner of fossils.whether he found them or bought them from others. In the meantime,  paleontologists and scientists heard that Eric would be auctioning off a compl...
  • Linda
    Eric Prokopis is no doubt obsessed as much as any old prospector in the desert with his mule looking for the Lost Dutchman mine or other rich vein of gold. Now just in his mid-40s with two young children, Eric started his wealth in fossils in his home state of Florida, with rich deposits of fossil shark teeth that he could clean and sell. He moved on to bigger things and river diving which included retrieving long-sunken but highly valuable enorm...
  • Eloise Newman
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book on #paleodrama of T. Bataar and Mongolian dinosaurs. This book manages to tell a gripping real story as well as provide a solid layman’s history to the paleontologists behind it. Having just come back from a trip to Mongolia and UB I visited the Dinosaur Museum there. This book provided really honest flesh to the specimens there. The museum itself didn’t seem fit to house the fossils, the translations few and pi...
  • Michael
    The Dinosaur Artist is a nice work about, broadly, paleontology, dinosaur paleontology more specifically. It concentrates on the story of Eric Prokopi and the illicit trade in Mongolian dinosaur fossils. For me, the best part of the narrative was the section on Molly (Mary) Anning and her incredible contributions to science. She, untrained and minimally educated, discovered more fossil species along the southern coast of England than perhaps anyo...
  • Nick Cincotta
    Absolutely riveting.... as I read it I became more fascinated with the personalities of the paleontologist Williams profiles. There are parts that made my jaw drop such as reading about Mark Norrell’s desk, it belonged to Barnum Brown, now that is just awesome. I couldn’t put it down I wanted to find out each aspect of the paleontologist/fossil hunters she was profiling. She did an excellent job of bringing the science to life and telling the...
  • Toni Olson
    What a fantastic and intriguing book! One of the best reads for fall 2018!
  • Brynn
    Lags sliiightly when it goes in-depth into the history of Mongolian politics but overall a fascinating and wildly entertaining read.
  • M.
    What an interesting story!
  • Erin Duerr
    Great read for anyone interested in the science of paleontology, the business of fossils or is just looking for an entertaining narrative true story with a bit of intrigue.
  • Elizabeth
    The world of fossil collecting is far more competitive and far less legal than I ever thought.Paige William’s new novel follows eponymous title artist Eric Prokopi from his humble Florida beginnings through to smuggling fossils out of Mongolia and attempting to sell them in New York for sums in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.It is when the lens focuses on Prokopi that the novel truly shines- there’s something faintly a...
  • Melise
    I received an advanced reading copy courtesy of Hachette and NetGalley. Thanks!This was a great read. The story of a man who was prosecuted for illegally selling a dinosaur skeleton that originated in Mongolia, Williams does a great job of explaining the history of paleontology and commercial fossil hunting, and the chain of events that led to the prosecution in this case. It was an engaging read, and I highly recommend it.
  • Leew49
    Not all fossils are collected by paleontologists, and many do not find their way into museums. Private collectors (Nicolas Cage and Leonardo DiCaprio among them) will pay generously for good specimens, and fossil hunting by private citizens is practiced both as a hobby and for profit. While the sale of items of great scientific interest is abhorred by many, it has a long history; and well-respected names such as Mary Anning, discoverer of the fir...
  • Shanti
    I just finished listening to this as an audiobook, and it was a very fast audiobook for me. But I listened to it at high speed because it was going to expire and I also hated the narrator, who sort of sounds like a robot. The thing is, the content of the book is fascinating. Williams is very good at using this dinosaur thing to connect to many other issues, and she has astonishing insight into, say, the Mongolian democracy and the dinosaur case.W...
  • Jo
    3.5 Stars. I read very little non-fiction, but the combination of ingredients in this synopsis drew me in, particularly the many eccentric characters it would involve. The Dinosaur Artist in paperback is a daunting item in itself — 410 pages of what is by recent publishing norms, uncommonly small font. That said, the main narrative only extends 278 pages, with Acknowledgements, Bibliography, and detailed Notes and Index sections making up the ...
  • Breanne Winkle
    I requested The Dinosaur Artist because I was that kid that watched Jurassic Park repeatedly and told my first grade teacher that I wanted to be a singer and a paleontologist. There was not a doubt in my mind that I was going to love this book. Unfortunately, it fell a bit flat for me.To be perfectly clear, I do not think this is a bad book or that you should not read it. I was just the wrong audience for this one. I studied museology and anthrop...
  • Jamie Canaves
    Another Great Nonviolent True Crime I keep accidentally calling this book the “dinosaur hunter” because in a way it feels that way. People go hunting for dinosaur bones, unearth them, put them together and sell them. The problem is, who do the dinosaur bones really belong to? The book starts with an auction for a Tyrannosaurus skeleton that sells for a million dollars. A million! That NY sale, by a Florida man, alerts the Mongolian government...
  • Adam Rosenbaum
    I like dinosaurs, everyone likes dinosaurs. In this investigative tale, I learned about the murky world of the fossil business. The story revolves around Eric Prokapi, a boyish, energetic Floridian who finds, "preps" and sells fossils. Life is good...until he tries to sell T. Battaar at a New York auction. Similar to the more famous Tyrannosaurus Rex, T. Baataar was found in Mongolia, and thus subject to that country's laws, which were not so cle...
  • D
    I wanted to like this book. I loved reading about Mary Anning. I hate-loved reading about the remorseless Prokopis and their victim mentality--"Eric stole dinosaurs from Mongolia knowing it was illegal only because he was trying to support our family (lifestyle of multiple houses and cars)!" The effect the prosecution of Eric Prokopi in the US had on the politics of Mongolia was both interesting and disheartening.It seems like Williams did a lot ...
  • Virginia Van
    Journalist Paige Williams acts like a paleontologist herself, digging through the layers of the 2012 auction sale in New York of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to T. Rex. Coming from Mongolia the 8 foot high and 24 feet long, the specimen was spectacular and sold for $1 million.The seller was Eric Prokopi, a thirty-eight-year-old man who had fallen in love with fossils as a teen. He had turned his youthful money making project of div...
  • Koen
    The subject is fascinating, the history of fossil hunting and the story of a man who attempted to sell a fossilized Mongolian dinosaur and ended up in jail for that, the writing at times is great. Still, the book ended up to be just 'okay' for me.In the end the book is too fragmented, there are so many painstakingly detailed detours which, for me, took away some of the joy of reading. It didn't flow for me.It's not a bad book though and there's l...