Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $16.00
  • Save: $1.32 (8%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
The Eternal Frontier: An ... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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 all 3 images

The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples Paperback – April 17, 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.68
$7.84 $3.71
$14.68 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples
  • +
  • The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth
Total price: $24.36
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Reading The Eternal Frontier might be the closest you'll get to taking a class from Tim Flannery--and that alone makes it an opportunity just too good to pass up. This ambitious retelling of North America's dramatic ecological history grew out of a course that Flannery taught at Harvard surveying the continent's ancient past up to its tumultuous near-present: from the extraterrestrial "death-dealing visitor" that struck 65 million years ago all the way through to the tidal invasions, adaptations, and extinctions that have washed over North America since, each idiosyncratically influenced by an ever-changing geology, geography, and climate.

Flannery admirably balances his twin roles as scientist and storyteller. As a thoughtful teacher, he employs memorable and effective examples to illustrate broader topics, but he's also willing to commit to theoretical explanations (with fair warning) when necessary to thread together the narrative. But Flannery's greatest strength might simply be the empathy he inspires as a fellow human being trying to sort out an intricate, often richly beautiful puzzle. It's hard not to identify with his curiosity and enthusiasm, whether he's recalling memories of late nights spent as a child reading the How and Why Book of Prehistoric Mammals (and the uintathere nightmares that followed) or just marveling over the vast American West from his window seat on a plane.

The Eternal Frontier certainly leaves you with a solid outline of the how, why, and when of North America's enigmatic ecology, and what the implications of a dwindling frontier have for our future. But don't be surprised when what you remember best are Flannery's countless details--worthy of repeating at any self-respecting pub--from marsupial sperm that swim in pairs to the reason that Native American cultures might owe their very existence to squirrels' taste in nuts. --Paul Hughes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

If Nature itself has a nature, it's the desire for balance. In a fascinating chronicle of our continent's evolution, Flannery shows, however, that this desire must forever be frustrated. Flannery starts his tale with the asteroid collision that destroyed the dinosaurs, ends with the almost equally cataclysmic arrival of humankind and fills the middle with an engaging survey of invaders from other lands, wild speciation and an ever-changing climate, all of which have kept the ecology of North America in a constant state of flux. We see the rise of horses, camels and dogs (cats are Eurasian), the rapid extinction of mammoths, mastodons and other megafauna at the hands of prehistoric man, and the even quicker extinction of the passenger pigeon and other creatures more recently. Flannery also spotlights plenty of scientists at work, most notably one who tries to butcher an elephant as a prehistoric man would have butchered a mastodon, and another who had the intestinal fortitude to check whether meat would keep if a carcass were stored at the bottom of a frigid pond, the earliest of refrigerators. This material might be dense and academic in another's hands, but Flannery displays a light touch, a keen understanding of what will interest general readers and a good sense of structure, which keeps the book moving, manageable and memorable. (May)Forecast: Atlantic Monthly clearly intends to build on the reputation Flannery attained with his previous, highly acclaimed book, Throwim Way Leg and they may have a winner here. The first printing will be 60,000 copies, with a $100,000 promotional budget and a 21-city author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; F First Paperback Edition Used edition (April 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802138888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802138880
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding book. Without doubt it is the best I have ever read on plant, animal, & landform evolution during the Cenozoic Era in general, & North America in particular. However, the only reason I don't rate this book at 5 stars is that it desperately needs illustrations. Tim Flannery, if you read this review, please put out a second edition of this book ASAP, but containing some 50-100 new pages of drawings & color images of all the major plants & animals described, along with maps showing changes to the North American land mass - its immigration routes from Europe, Asia, & South America, glacier advances, etc - for each Epoch of the Tertiary & Quaternary Periods. I also recommend that a geologic time-chart be shown at the beginning of each chapter, highlighting the time period being discussed, since I expect the general reader could not differentiate the Paleocene from the Pleistocene by name alone. Even without these illustrations, this is still a great read, but it would have been a lot more fun without having to keep a dozen other books nearby to look up pictures of each plant, animal, or landform change being discussed.
Comment 57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Eternal Frontier is a marvelous read, lively, insightful, fast - well, you have to go fast to cover 65 million years in 357 pages. And, boy, does Flannery cover the territory. A student of the animal kingdon, he has covered a lot of physical territory in his career, studying the remains of extinct species and searching for undescribed living ones in the forests of New Guinea. Small wonder, then, that Flannery is at his best when contemplating the forces that led to the evolution or extinction of species, or of entire classes of species. In the pages of Eternal Frontier ancient periods of warm climate conjure tropical forests in the Dakotas and create strange herbivorous beasts who munch their way across the landscape, only to be swept away by the onset of an ice age. The pleasure for readers is that Flannery doesn't just describe what took place, he leads us into an understanding of the process whereby creatures evolve to fill vacant niches in an evolving ecosystem. It is wonderful stuff.
The closer we come to the present day, however, the further Flannery moves from material he knows really well. Readers spoiled by such masterful works of ecological history as William Cronon's Changes in the Land and Donald Worster's Rivers of Empire will find Flannery shallow indeed.
In truth, this entire, wonderful book will not bring much pleasure to readers who are familiar with the subjects covered. When confronted with confusing evidence that might support one of several plausible historical scenarios, Flannery picks the one he finds most compelling and dismisses the others. Extinction of the paleolithic megafauna, for example, was here caused by overhunting by spear-carrying paleo-Indians, the first humans to enter the western hemisphere, who arrived about 13,000 years ago.
Read more ›
1 Comment 62 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Flannery begins his ecological history of North America 65m years ago with the Chicxulub asteroid impact spraying molten rock far into the present Canada and creating a shockwave that flattened trees across the continent. North America lost 80% of its flowering plant species and the dust polluted the atmosphere so most photosynthesis stopped as the planet entered a decade of freezing temperatures.
From here the book describes the major ecological developments through to the present, starting with how the continental drift of Australia from Antarctica and the rise of the Panamanian isthmus impacted on North America's climate. Even when writing of continental drift, Flannery's account is fast-paced. Some will deplore Flannery's speculations, but I found them intensely stimulating. One speculation is not necessarily like another: a well-informed speculation can help to eliminate more far-fetched speculations.
This quote exemplifies his well-informed speculation:
"The lifestyles of the oreodonts have been a mystery for some time. Some possessed eyes on the top of their heads like hippos, which certain researchers have taken to indicate an aquatic life. Oreodont remains, though, are most common in windblown sediments, indicating dry conditions. New and still contentious studies focusing on well-preserved remains of animals that were presumably buried where they lived suggest that some oreodonts may have been burrowers. Some skeletons even have the remains of foetuses, usually, two, three or four, preserved in their mother's belly. Such large animals tend to have so many young only if they live a precarious life, prompting one researcher to suggest that oreodonts used those eyes atop their heads to peek over the rims of their burrows before emerging.
Read more ›
Comment 32 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Tim Flannery's book The Eternal Frontier is not a perfect book [but was closer to a 5 than a 4 for me], but given the amount of Earth history it covers well and in detail, it's a helluva read. Flannery covers the history of North America from the really bad day that ended the Cretaceous Period up to the present day. Flannery could've included so much more, but then The Eternal Frontier would've been turned into an Earth history textbook, which was not the author's purpose. I do agree with other reviewers that more illustrations would have been nice [maybe if The Eternal Frontier does well, an illustrated edition a' la A Brief history Of Time or Longitude might be forthcoming], but for readers with a little background and a big imagination, the lack of illustrations shouldn't be too much a hindrance to enjoying the book. The thing I liked the most about the book was the seamless incorporation of humans into the story. One of my personal pet peeves is the rigid dichotomy of natural versus synthetic that often shows up in ecological discourse. Certain human activities ARE unique in the history of the Earth [e.g. humans produce chemicals never before seen on Earth], but to consider the ecology of the Earth without humans as an integral part is incorrect and foolish. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Earth history or ecology, with a special recommend to those folks involved in any current environmental and ecological debate in North America who want to have a thorough grounding in the history of the place they are arguing over. Whether for good or for ill, the near future of North America and the Earth includes human beings and all thinking humans should know something about how we got to where we are.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples