THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
A Zallinger innovation: red carnivores with blue flames painted on their back.
Cool acquisition: THE WORLD WE LIVE IN by Life magazine, 1955.
This was one of my fave library books as a kid. Thanks to eBay, I now have the ability to relive my childhood.
Scientifically, this book is half a century out of date, but it's got some really spectacular illustrations. There are several paintings by one of the pioneers of space art, Chesley Bonestell, and many many pages by Rudolph Zallinger, the artist who painted the famous "Age of Reptiles" mural at the Peabody Museum (which is also in the book.)
Bonestell's "The Earth's Birth". That's the semi-molten moon in the sky. My sense-of-wonder meter just hit "11".
I only looked at the pics when I was a kid, so I don't recall the purple prose. Actually, the prose goes beyond purple, into the ultraviolet. Here's the description of T-Rex:
The apogee of development was attained with the creation of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the mightiest and most fearsome flesh-eater that ever terrorized the land. A towering agent of destruction, endowed with gigantic strength and power, Tyrannosaurus spanned 50 feet from nose to tail and carried his terrible head 18 to 20 feet above the ground. His hind legs were superbly muscled, from his thick thighs down to his three-toed, cruelly taloned feet. His main weapon of attack was his murderous mouth which had a gape of incredible size and was armed with rows of six-inch saberlike teeth.
Next time I'm talking about the T-Rex with someone (hey, I'm a GUY, it's possible!) I'll have to mention that it had "superbly muscled legs."
And here the Life editors explain why the mammals inherited the earth:
Pound for pound, brain for brain, the dinosaurs were by comparison with the mammals mere automatons. Indeed, it is probable that the mammals may have survived and succeeded to hegemony of the earth not in spite of but by reason of their very weakness and obscurity, their smallness in a world dominated by giants, their nakedness in a world of armor plate -- in particular, by their fear and sensitivity and awareness in a world of unperceiving, insensate, brainless brutes.
Wow, you can just feel the disgust dripping off the writer's pens. Damn dirty dinosaurs!
Note: this is the 304 page version, not the shorter "junior" edition. The "grown up" edition is much larger and had a better quality printing process. I know, because I also got the junior edition for my kid. Sadly, in this age of photorealistic computer generated dinosaurs, the great classics left him unimpressed.