Qty:1
  • List Price: $20.95
  • Save: $3.35 (16%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by giggil
Condition: Used: Good
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth (Commonwealth Fund Book Program) Paperback – March 17, 1995


See all 14 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$17.60
$9.86 $0.39
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
12%20Days%20of%20Deals%20in%20Books


Frequently Bought Together

The Ages of Gaia: A Biography of Our Living Earth (Commonwealth Fund Book Program) + Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth + The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity
Price for all three: $44.21

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Series: Commonwealth Fund Book Program
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Rev Upd Su edition (March 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393312399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393312393
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #694,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book describes a set of observations about the life of our planet which may, one day, be recognized as one of the major discontinuities in human thought. If Lovelock turns out to be as right in his view of things as I believe he is, we will be viewing the Earth as a coherent system of life, self-regulating and self-changing, a sort of immense living organism.” (Lewis Thomas)

About the Author

James Lovelock is an independent scientist, inventor, and author. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974 and in 1990 was awarded the first Amsterdam Prize for the Environment by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. One of his inventions is the electron capture detector, which was important in the development of environmental awareness. It revealed for the first time the ubiquitous distribution of pesticide residues. He co-operated with NASA and some of his inventions were adopted in their program of planetary exploration.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
6
4 star
3
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 9 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Paul Schicke on June 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
Imagine living in Europe during the Dark Ages, when everyone thought the world was flat, and having someone demonstrate to you that the world is a sphere. In our modern version of the Dark Ages of the environment we are under the delusion that our Earth is lump of rock inhabited by life. Lovelock shows that the Earth is a living, self-regulating system comprised of all of life tightly coupled with its environment. He traces the 3.5 billion year life of the Earth as a living entity in an easy and enjoyable to read fashion. If we as a species are fortunate enough to survive the next 1000 years it will be because this book was recognized as the most important ever written in the 20th century. For you Gaia theory buffs out there: The Gaia theory dawned on Lovelock when he was having a conversation with Carl Sagan and some other colleagues.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Drum on September 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
James Lovelock's The Ages of Gaia, a Biography of the Living Earth, fleshes out his idea that all of life on Earth--including the rocks--is in fact one living self-regulating organism.
Is this even possible? To illustrate how it might work, Lovelock postulates a simple model of light and dark colored daisies, called Daisyworld, where populations of daisies increase and decrease according to how much sunlight the planet receives. His argument moves back to the Archean age approximately 3.6 billion years ago where the first bacteria-like rudiments of life appeared. In an explanation which is heavy on the chemistry, and somewhat beyond me, Lovelock explains how our present self-sustaining world balancing oxygen and carbon dioxide used and expelled by plants and animals could develop and adapt to changes in the sun's intensity.
The Ages of Gaia contains a subtle but firm warning that we humans are changing the fabric of life on our planet, and setting the stage for what may well be (for humans and animals of our ilk) a stark uninhabitable world.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By LeeHoFooks on July 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Outside of some rudimentary internet research, this is the first I've read of Lovelock's Gaia Hypothesis. Despite the name (which I initially thought sounded like some kind of pop eco-philosophy a neohippy type might come up with), I was surprised at the professional, technical nature of his writing.

Lovelock hypothesizes that the planet Earth is essentially a living being, whose complex biosphere regulates such things as the chemical makeup of the atmosphere (affecting, in turn, the global climate). He compares the Earth -- with its atmosphere largely comprised of nitrogen and oxygen -- to the carbon-heavy atmospheres of "dead" Venus and at least mostly "dead" Mars.

Since Darwin's time, we've known that the environment causes organisms to evolve. Lovelock argues that the opposite is also true, and he cites many examples to support this idea. Previous mass extinctions, he says, have been the result of calamities (such as asteroids and meteorites) that temporarily threw the biosphere out of control. The current mass extinction event is an anomaly -- an individual species run amok. (Homo sapiens, therefore, are something akin to cancer cells on this giant creature.)

Lovelock's background in chemistry gives him an interesting perspective for the author of a book about ecology. He goes beyond the "this is the food chain" level and delves into the chemical nature of the biosphere and the regulatory effects these chemical changes have on the planet as a whole. Furthermore, Lovelock labels himself a "planetary physician," and urges others to become the same.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Individual Investor on October 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Ages of Gaia is not just the story of Gaia and how she was discovered, but also the adventures of an individual scientist vs. the scientific establishment and the adventures of a British land-lover vs. the political establishment. It also is a gentle warning to the passengers on spaceship Earth, a.k.a. Gaia, that the spaceship is not in danger, the passengers are!

Gaia is not a living creature. Gaia is a self regulating habitat that favors denizens that manage to get along harmoniously and hinders those that don't. There are no reasons or theologies given for this behavior. As Ayn Rand might have said: it is the nature of Gaia to be like she is. Gaia is what our senses perceive and what our reason understands. Gaia does not play favorites.

The only chapter that put me to sleep was the one about god and Gaia. Maybe you'll find it interesting. I tried twice to read it but to no avail.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The evidence that the Earth's present state owes so much to photosynthesizing bacteria which gradually captured carbon dioxide is a humbling fact. And today so much of the new oxygen is produced by phytoplankton in the ocean. So, looking at the incredibly long times - millions and billions of years - it to form the oxygen rich atmosphere, in combination with the vast geography -- large regions of the oceans and forests - that are essential for the oxygen / CO2 balance, it is clear that tinkering with or fundamentally altering this vast life system - Gaia - calls for deep contemplation among leading scientists and politicians.

We have a "Goldilocks Planet". The scientists Zalasiewicz and Williams recount the Earth's history and climate outlook in a book of the same name. We need to take civilized and planned measures to keep it that way. Ideas for improvements to energy, agriculture and society which harmonize with the biosphere can be readily found in this book the Lovelock's new books.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?