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Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of Largest, Most Fought Over T. Rex Ever Found

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3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  253 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Over 65 million years ago in what is now South Dakota, a battle-scarred Tyrannosaurus rex matriarch—perhaps mortally wounded in a ferocious fight—fell into the riverbed and died. In 1990 her skeleton was found, virtually complete, in what many have called the most spectacular dinosaur fossil discovery to date.

And then another battle began - a "survival of the fittest" free
...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by W. H. Freeman (first published January 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 540)
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Eric_W
May 19, 2011 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paleontology
Discovered by Sue Hendrickson and Peter Larson (president of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research) in the wastelands of South Dakota, the largest T-Rex had survived millions of years, Sue’s last meal was some kind of platypus. She was also the subject of multiple lawsuits and a Sotherby’s auction. (She sold for millions and Larson could only participate from his house where remained under house arrest.) Larson wound up in prison, Sioux Indians claimed ownership, the government claime ...more
Sheila
Oct 10, 2010 Sheila rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2010
I have a hard time explaining my reaction to this book. I was very aware of the battle over Sue, because I was living in the Black Hills at the time, and now that I'm in Chicago I make a point of stopping to see her every time I'm at the Field. It's so strange to read about all these people and places I know. And even though I was dinosaur-crazy as a kid, with this book I was impatient every time the author talked about the history of paleontology or the science of dinosaurs. I just wanted to fi ...more
Sandra Strange
If you want a reason to be angry, this book will give you one. It chronicles the saga of the most fought over skeleton of T Rex ever found. In the hills of South Dakota, a small private institute spent resources and time of its founders and owners searching for fossils. Their primary aim was education, speaking, giving tours, hoping one day to establish a really nice museum in the town, and selling the fossils to museums all over the world. The institute didn't pay much to the founders and emplo ...more
Nathan
Feb 26, 2010 Nathan rated it it was ok
Shelves: franklin-library
This started off so well. It was fun to read, because the author was so obviously enthusiastic about his subject, and he wants his readers to be too. He captures the common fascination we have with dinosaurs as kids and he shows that they really were worth every bit of it. Then the narrative gets twisted up in the legal bickering that followed the excavation and gets stuck there for the rest of book. This might not be the author's fault, but he fell hard and fast from "good" to "boring". I wish ...more
Kristine (fezabel)
Jun 26, 2008 Kristine (fezabel) marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
I have been wanting to read this book since it was published. I finally saw Sue at the Chicago Field Museum and decided it was time to read it. I am very diappointed in this work. The author is not an impartial journalist at all. He may have interviewed several people involved, but he didn't consider the other viewpoints. I expected an unbiased look at the fossil of Sue and the court drama that followed. Instead, I read a book that stars Peter Larson as the hero against the system. Very poor wri ...more
Stephen
I have seen Sue at Chicago's Field Museum on a number of occasions, but was completely unaware of the fossil's unbelievable back story. The chapters detailing the discovery and eventual sale of Sue were most interesting to me. The middle of the book reads like a legal textbook, with lengthy discussions and excerpts from the civil and criminal trials, which even as a lawyer I found a bit tedious, hence the three-star rating. The author also mixes in a lot of paleontological history which some mig ...more
Amy
Tyrannosaurus Sue does have its problems. First of all, Steve Fiffer is quite pun oriented. This is funny the first few times, but then it just gets kind of annoying. Secondly, the author jumps around to different people, places, times, and events, and this can get a little bit disorienting. One minute I'm reading a paragraph about Tyrannosaurus Sue and the Larsons, and the very next paragraph is about a fossil hunter from 1869! Quite often I felt like I had whiplash due to all that jumping abou ...more
Julie H.
Apr 08, 2013 Julie H. rated it it was amazing
Written by a journalist who also happens to be an attorney, Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of the Largest, Most Fought Over. T. Rex Ever Found does an outstanding job of setting the scene for exploring the complex parallels between for-profit fossil collection outfits and the universities that cannot possibly pay property owners the collecting fees they increasingly demand and my home discipline of archaeology where private collectors are frequently pitted against professional archaeo ...more
Corielle
Nov 24, 2015 Corielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
My father recently completed his two-year term as president of the Dallas Paleontology Society. He discovered fossil hunting maybe ten years ago and has been hooked ever since. We live in north Texas, so the majority of fossils in our area are sea creatures — mostly ammonites — but through his work with DPS he’s helped excavate mosasaurs and even a mammoth. I have heard first-hand from him the difficulties of securing the rights to fossils. He’s done everything from navigate the complexities of ...more
Charles Isom
A very entertaining read. Especially interesting how the book both eviscerates the government's efforts in this case without letting any of the other players off the hook. A great read for those who feel academia sometimes becomes a little too full of itself.
Tracy
I don't read non-fiction often, but I picked this up after an event at the local library. The story was very interesting and kept my attention enough to finish it, but I do wish it flowed better. It was good, but easy to put down at the same time. I hope one day to visit Sue!
Mairi
This details the legal battle for Sue, the most-complete (and, yes, most fought over) T-Rex skeleton ever found. The author seemed mostly sympathetic to Larson (the man whose organization found and excavated it) over all the other parties involved. It felt like an awful lot was left out and I could never quite immerse myself in it since my skepticism was on full throttle throughout the book. I still enjoyed it and now I want to go to Chicago.
Pam Porter
Jan 17, 2015 Pam Porter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story of the fight over "Sue", the largest most complete (90%) tyrannosaurus fossil ever found. Discovered in 1990, confiscated by the US Government & finally sold at a Sotheby's auction in New York -- what's not to love?
Kelly
Sep 04, 2012 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
a great story over the ownership of the fossil TRex, Sue. already knowing the outcome (I saw Sue at the Field Museum this summer), I teared up reading how the eventual auction ended ("…in her new home on the shores of Lake Michigan."). however, I wasn't crazy about Fiffer's writing style. I would have much preferred to have read this same story but written by Laura Hillenbrand (Unbroken and Seabuscuit), or, Erik Larson.
Andrew
Aug 16, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
A great that combines an archeological adventure with a legal battle that crosses several courts. The true story of the discovery, contentious legal fight and ultimately the auction that brought the world's most complete T. Rex skeleton to the Field Museum in Chicago. A pretty balanced review of the drama that unfolded after the discovery of "Sue".
Renee
Jan 08, 2014 Renee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting and readable story! It described in a simple manner the process of finding fossils and other topics in paleontology. It also told of the dramatic legal battle over Sue, the T-Rex fossil. I would recommend it.
Elizabeth
When the book deals with the archeological dig and archeological information it is very interesting. When the book discusses the long, tedious, convoluted court cases which Sue's discovery births, as it were, the book makes conversation with my mother-in-law seem more interesting.
Phillip
Feb 24, 2012 Phillip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book while working on a long stained glass project. It is a well written piece of journalism. The authors do a fine job of describing the many stake holders each putting forth their claim upon the fossil skeleton.
Cindy
Dec 17, 2011 Cindy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rather dull legal maneuverings and nearly entirely one-sided treatment, though nice handling of auction sequence and final chapters. Could use some fact-checking - and photos to supplement (no pics within at all).
Mike Moore
Jun 29, 2008 Mike Moore rated it really liked it
I've been a dinosaur nut since I could talk, so this might not be others' thing. But it's a juicier read than it sounds; legal battles and broken promises, etc.
Rita
May 04, 2013 Rita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible journey of finding such a magnificent beast of the past and the intrigue of who it belonged too. All about money as you can imagine!
Miriam
Dec 21, 2008 Miriam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, politics
The story of tyrannosaurs Sue is very interesting. The writing style is not. I almost put the book down several times.
Cindy
Aug 08, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Took me awhile to get thru this, but it was kind of interesting. I really didn't know anything about this story.
Tara
Jan 22, 2010 Tara rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Story of a T. Rex dug up in South Dakota; the people who found her, and the government's crusade to prosecute them.
John
Apr 01, 2012 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1history, box6
Tale of digging up Sue, it's seizure, trial and auction an display. Interesting but just so-so.
Bryan D.
Feb 16, 2013 Bryan D. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Was given a used copy of this book. Looks very interesting. Hopefully I can get to it soon.
Hank
Hank marked it as to-read
Feb 10, 2016
Abby
Abby added it
Feb 05, 2016
Greg
Greg rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2016
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