7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Placid, unhurried and a bit boring,
This review is from: Vanished Ocean: How Tethys Reshaped the World (Hardcover)
Stow's style is very relaxed and unhurried. Although I didn't find any part of the book too difficult to follow, I would be hard put to explain in a few succinct sentences what it is all about, apart from the obvious, i.e. how Tethys grew and shrank. I would have preferred a different approach, one which - at least in parts - went into a bit more depth, detailing the clues scientists had found, how they used them to form a hypothesis, how they tested, changed their minds, came up with an improved version, etc.
Even the potentially most exciting bits, e.g. the mass extinction at the end of the Permian are quite bland. I was really disappointed about Stow's depiction of the end of the dinosaurs. Stow believers the dinosaurs were not killed off by a meteorite. This would have been his opportunity to list all the arguments supporting the impact theory and show in detail why each one of them must be wrong. He does do a bit of this. But looking closely at the pros and cons is simply not his style.
This book fails to convey the excitement that is part of scientific discovery and the passion that can make scientists devote many years of their life to finding answers. This book fails at several levels. It does not have an overreaching arc that puts all the individual bits in perspective, at the more detailed level it only hints at how scientific discoveries were made how the conclusions were reached and finally it doesn't draw you into a story, making you wish, you could have been there and shared the adventure. It would be too harsh to call it boring but it's definitely not a page turner.
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Initial post: Oct 6, 2014 6:20:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 6, 2014 6:20:28 PM PDT
After having bought and read the book, this is the review that I found coming closest to my experience. A little bit of science, but just not enough. It's more like a travel memoir, similar to other pop-science books that come up over the past decade or so. Sort of Tolkein-esque in some parts, I found myself skimming over a lot of pages. I really wanted to enjoy it but couldn't. The reconstructions of ocean currents in paleo-climates was interesting, I could get into a book that just focused on that. A better read in similar niche is the book about the P/T extinction by Douglas Erwin.
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