- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Grove Press; Original edition (April 10, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780802145864
- ISBN-13: 978-0802145864
- ASIN: 0802145868
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 56 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,546,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Here on Earth: A Natural History of the Planet Original Edition
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The book is an inquiry, a great open question -- is humanity becoming a super-organism and finding its place on the planet, or is humanity a cancer eating away at the fabric of the planet? In pursuing this general inquiry, Flannery provides a range of facts -- but they stand as examples or arguments regarding certain specifics of our brief, tumultuous appearance on earth, not as complete claims regarding the state of the planet. It is a small book; it just deals with the human sphere and it scarcely touches on the art and science that provides an aesthetic justification for our existence.
Instead the focus is -- Are we bad for the planet? Yes! at least in the short term. Are we inherently bad for the planet, so bad we will prove the ruin of ourselves and of the planet as a living, life-producing entity? Not necessarily. Elements in ourselves, our ability to form societies, suggest we are capable of the level of cooperation required to make us a symbiotic element of the swirling, changing ecosphere.
The earth is out-of-balance, but the earth is always out-of-balance. The only things 'in-balance' are dead. So what are we, with our recent vast influence on the planet? Dangerous disease? Lethal disease? Or just our changing selves on a live (therefore changing) planet? Flannery provides fodder for rumination, with abundant reminders that we are powerful little creatures -- dangerously powerful -- stumbling through the 'interesting times' we have created.
I was expecting a science book with objective information leading the author to a logical conclusion. It didn't feel that way. It felt like a personal philosophy. The goal was to convince us that the earth itself is an actual living entity. The science part was references to others work without explaining in sufficient detail, just what that was.
I should have kept notes so I could add examples here, but too many statements seemed, confusing, incorrect, misleading, or just pouring superlatives on one of his favored idols like Wallace. Not interested enough to go back and look up those passages now.
The only redeeming quality is that it did make me think more about just exactly what is life. But overall, the main reason I didn't like it wasn't the message, I just felt it was sloppy. Arguments were not crisp, concise and clear. I don't think he made his point well.
I would say skip this one.
This book is a beautiful, unbias story of Earth and the story of us. It is interesting and fun. I love it!