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Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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Guest Review for Apocalyptic Planet from Neil Shubin
Neil Shubin is author of Your Inner Fish and the upcoming The Universe Within. He is provost of The Field Museum as well as professor of anatomy at the University of Chicago, where he also serves as an associate dean. Educated at Columbia, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley, he lives in Chicago.
Part field guide, part love letter, and part biography of Earth, Apocalyptic Planet looks at our ever-changing world to find refreshing and eye-popping insights in the most unlikely places. In glacial ice, rocky mountains, and dusty outcroppings on the desert floor, Craig Childs uses cutting-edge science to reveal the dazzling changes our planet has experienced. Seas have come and gone; mountains have risen only to fall; while whole continents have moved, split, and crashed into one another. The 4.67-billion-year-history of Earth has seen whole worlds collapse, with others born in their remains. Planetary apocalypse is the way of the world; our very presence on the planet has been shaped by cataclysm.
Craig Childs walking on the desert or climbing a mountain is like a gourmand at a sumptuous feast: the sensual delight with which he relishes the world around him gives the rest of us a vicarious thrill, even hunger. You just want to turn over that rock he sees, move dust to expose an ancient artifact, or scale the cave wall in front of him. Childs delights in the details of the rock, sand, and ice, and in them he finds stories as large as the planet itself. In his hands, the main casualty of apocalypse is our familiar view of Earth: it is impossible to read Craig Childs and see the world in the same way again.
A Look Inside Apocalyptic Planet
Childs traveled the world to destinations both exceptional and mundane seeking clues to what life will be like in the future on our increasingly unstable planet. Ruminating on our distant past and present changes, he blends climate science, natural history, literary references, and personal reflections to create an immensely evocative sense of time and place. From Greenland’s glaciers to a blistering hot Iowa cornfield (a place Childs characterizes as suffering from “genetic exhaustion”), he immerses himself in parts of our world that scientists endlessly study but we willfully ignore. He consults great minds, cajoles friends into sharing his adventures (with often hilarious results), and brings his mother along in an attempt to gather clues and form conclusions about the end of the world as we know it. Surprisingly, this is not a work of darkest sorrow but rather an engaging exploration of the land beneath us and the sixth mass extinction that scientists agree is underway. Always curious, Childs went out in the world to learn “in the presence of apocalypse,” taking readers along for the intriguing ride. --Colleen Mondor
Top customer reviews
It is the most beautifully written analysis of natural and unnatural cycles; of the effects of global climate change and overpopulation; of optimism, pessimism, alarmism and realism. This books reads like a fairy tale founded in scientific research, dripping with despair and yet brimming with hope.
If I could gift it to each and every inhabitant of Earth I would.
Your understanding of just how "in flux" our planet is, and has always been. will never be the same.
Childs does a great job of 'humanizing' the people with whom he traveled the globe too, especially the videographer in chapter 2; Denise Stilley. She sounds like a woman I would LOVE to know!
Great read that will spin your head HARD!
Craig Childs is a mix of Anthony Bourdain and Indiana Jones and if I were 30 years younger... I'd want to be Craig when I grow up.
Most recent customer reviews
Two thumbs up for one of the best.