Top critical review
26 of 34 people found this helpful
Conceptually interesting, but poorly woven together
on January 28, 2008
Global climate change is real and it will likely be the cause of our extinction. I in no way disagree with these points made by the author, however, I felt that a story as important as this should have been better explored, with each idea cogently woven into a tapestry that would allow the average non-scientist to be able to discern the impact global warming will have on his/her life.
I felt like the book spent far too many of it's 204 pages meandering through Dr. Ward's career in detail, rather than summarizing his past research and moving on to an exploration of what the future and the similar past Permian-Triassic extinction looked like. If I were not a geologist, I think I would have put the book down at page 102, when I felt we had not moved anywhere toward the purpose of the book...what our future holds.
My other beef with the book is that these important concepts are crammed, literally, into the last 102 pages, making it difficult to explain the full picture in a stark dramatic way that the average person can understand. The implications of global warming including war, famine, pestilence, sea level rise, etc did not get the individual attention they could have if the author had remained strongly focused on the topic at hand and explored these issues in detail.
I felt a little frustrated and let down by this book, because we live in a world where few people get the ramifications of global warming and I expected a work that would explain these implications in a clear way, a way that would drive home the message to people so that the future can change, while there is still time.
I was frustrated by editorial errors, including misspelled words and mathematical errors, but I was more frustrated that many issues just simply weren't addressed that are also parts of the global warming story. Some authors believe that we are nearing saturation levels for CO2 in the atmosphere. More importantly, the importance of sea temperature rise on dissolution of methane hydrates was pushed aside, as well as methane being released from permafrost regions as the permafrost melts. Methane has great potential, as another greenhouse gas, to cause catastrophic effects on our climate.
I think that if the book had been focused not on the history of impact craters and mass extinction, which although important is not relavent to the discussion, it would have been a better book. I think if he had centered his arguments on what had happened during warming events in the past and what type of picture this paints for our future, it could be a high-impact book that could bring about the sea change we need to stave off our own extinction.