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Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History
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Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Is it generally safe to walk by dragon weyrs on sunny days? Do dragons really lay golden eggs? Do dragon teeth have any medicinal value? And what about unicorns: Do some rare ones have two horns, and when aren't unicorns white? What is a unicorn "sneeze call," and what exactly is the best way to capture a unicorn, anyway?

Find the answers to these and other questions in
Paperback, 163 pages
Published October 15th 1992 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 1982)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  180 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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G. Lawrence
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great read, most amusing.
Nostalgia Reader
I read this with both a serious "dragons and unicorns are totally real" mindset, as well as a completely skeptical and ready to point out all questionable facts mindset. This, of course, made for a very bipolar reading... half of my notes seem to be saying "well, this is BS, and purely correlation, not causation" while the other half notes interesting facts and mythologies. And that half-and-half aspect I think sums this book up. Parts are quite interesting, and really expanded my knowledge of ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, being a big fan of dragons and unicorns. The illustrations are beautiful and myths and legends concerning the two animals incredibly interesting. This book was clearly well researched as I had vaguely heard of many of the myths before. A lovely read for fans of the mystical and magical. Highly recommend.
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I loved this book, but I'm taking away a star for the parts on dragon culture, which were irrelevant and not well-detailed. On the whole, I really enjoyed reading the descriptions distilled from various legends and am looking forward to seeing how many species I can spot (erm, well, sort of). I found this book randomly in a bookshop (Twice Told Tales) in Seattle, and I'm so glad I bought it.
Adam Stevenson
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
I have a friend who hates me talking about dragons. This started when I finally got a copy of The Flight of Dragons by Peter Dickinson, having been a huge fan of the old Rankin Bass film (which it turned out had very little to do with the book). Its one of my favourite books and I love the the absolutely stiff-lipped way the book entertains its notions of real dragons, presenting theory, evidence and rebuttal without ever giving the joke away.

I have also enjoyed a few unicorn books, The Natural
Kim Wyatt
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't know. I found this book trying to hard to make dragons and unicorns seem to real. A little magic and fantasy would have been nice.
A whimsical zoology, replete with handsomely inked drawings. For anyone with an imagination, and a passion for animals of all sorts. A "scientific" treatise that has a well-researched background.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, mythology, 2016
Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History is a fictional amalgamation of fantasy, mythology, and history couched as a non-fiction history about these two mythical creatures who, in this book, are not mythical at all but merely--possibly--now extinct or very rare.

I bought this book nearly two decades ago, knowing nothing about it but drawn to it in the bookstore because of my love of unicorns. It has taken me that long to actually, finally sit down and read it. (Motivated more by the idea of
Megan Paxson
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Informative in some areas, mostly in the Unicorn section. The Dragon section had little facts, and some seemed very made up to fit the writer's beliefs. If this were more of a fiction book, rather than a "biology" book, then I'd accept what the authors had written for the reader to learn - but it's not.

If you're studying Dragons, I don't recommend this book, though it can be good for comparrison to others to confirm facts; if you're studying Unicorns, this book has a better list of history, and
Alistair Follansbee
Jul 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dragons
I found this to be a singularly frustrating book. If you merely want a whimsical/humorous romp with nothing but a passing nod to mythology, feel free to give it a read and you may enjoy it. Personally, I was hoping for some more solid mythology, and not some poorly thought out evolution of the dragon and unicorn. As a biology undergraduate, this book became even more frustrating, as "A Natural History," it is not.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History

A great book for anyone who is interested in mystical creatures and for some who believe in the existence of dragons and unicorns. This book gives a good amount of information on ether dragons or unicorns. It was a good read for me as to being interested in the general subject.

Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Daleb. by: Found it perusing the shelves of my local library
Monday Dec. 19, 2011
I've had this one before but can't remember the details, so i think i shall read it again to refresh my memory (probably last year about this time i think)
Mon. Dec. 26, 2011
Well, it was just as interesting the second time around...I'd put this on my shelf w/my Graeme Base books
Wish i could spot a few of these on my walks ;oP
I liked the structure of this book - it attempted to organize the histories of the unicorn and dragon in a manner worthy of a textbook. Obviously, much information was lacking for it to be a true textbook, but I appreciate the attempt. Sometimes, the attempt at "factual narrative" was a little insulting, since general knowledge denies these as facts. But it was an interesting perspective.
Nov 07, 2007 rated it did not like it
Not a good book at all. It tries to come off as logical, but it leaves more questions than it answers. It is filled with inconsistencies that further destroy its believeability. It could have been a wonderful book if it had been well done.
Feb 21, 2012 added it
Dragons and Unicorns: A Natural History by Paul Johnsgard (1992)
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was such a fun romp. Very old-fashioned and fusty, and very enjoyably witty anyway.
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Informative and fun, but too much biology and evolution stuff. I'd rather hear more fairy tales and myths.
Sarah Mae
Mar 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I did not read the dragon parts but the unicorn section was a good intro. I have most of the books in the bibliography checked out to read as well.
Heather Hay
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Apr 27, 2013
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Felicity Neeley
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Rebecca Stewart
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Very good 1 1 Sep 30, 2016 04:45AM  

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