Thoughts: The Rise and Reign of the Mammals by Steve Brusatte

Source: Netgalley – SO LONG AGO, I’M SO SORRY! But Thank you so much!
TL;DR: I adored it. This is a highly recommend one for other armchair scientists such as myself who loves dinos and dino-adjacent topics.

Readability: This is incredibly readable, the language and style is simple and friendly
Structure: Sectioned into large eras of time with a top down overview of the evolutions and changes that aided mammalian evolution, it flowed and moved fantastically.
Density: 5/10 – It’s written in such a way that it presents a lot of information but in a digestable manner.


I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes non-fiction about dinosaurs and their associated eras and times can be dense and wordy and difficult to get through for people who are just dipping their toes into the topic or who are newer. Happily The Rise and Reign of the Mammals does not have that problem. This well thought out and structured book takes us from the era of the dinos, when mammals were just beginning to get under the big reptiles’ feet to their eventual rise and dominance of the known world.

Rise and Reign begins primarily within the Pennsylvanian era with stem-mammals and moves to our more modern times. One of my favorite things about this book is that as we move from large period to large period Mr. Brusatte regales us with a short narrative about something might have or might happen in the future to set the scene for what we’re about to see or have explained in the next section. He doesn’t focus in on the creature themselves, instead looking at each one in relation to what made it different and unique that added to the overall growth of the mammalian line (or bush if you want a more accurate descriptor).

There are plenty of wonderful illustrations, charts, photos, and figures to keep things clear. I ended up taking a plethora of notes on the figures and charts as well as the text as they really helped me visualize what I was reading. Mr. Brusatte also keeps it fairly personal. Often referring to friends he has in the field or digs he’s gone on to tie into the bones and their discoveries. This made it seem more grounded than simple facts and added to the approachability of the book.

Overall, this was a fantastic addition to my collection of dino and dino-adjacent shelves and I’d highly recommend for any other lovers of the topic and era in question. It’s long, yes, but take it in chunks or one long holiday and you’ll enjoy the journey, I promise!


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