Earth: An Intimate History

Front Cover
Knopf, 2004 - History - 429 pages
From the acclaimed author of "Life" and "Trilobite!," a fascinating geological exploration of the earth's distant history as revealed by its natural wonders.
The face of the earth, crisscrossed by chains of mountains like the scars of old wounds, has changed and changed again over billions of years, and the testament of the remote past is all around us. In this book Richard Fortey teaches us how to read its character, laying out the dominions of the world before us. He shows how human culture and natural history-even the shape of cities-are rooted in this deep geological past.
In search of this past, Fortey takes us through the Alps, into Icelandic hot springs, down to the ocean floor, over the barren rocks of Newfoundland, into the lush ecosystems of Hawai'i, across the salt flats of Oman, and along the San Andreas Fault. On the slopes of Vesuvius, he tracks the history of the region down through the centuries?to volcanic eruptions seen by fifteenth-century Italians, the Romans, and, from striking geological evidence, even Neolithic man. As story adds to story, the recent past connects with forgotten ages long ago, then much longer ago, as he describes the movement of plates and the development of ancient continents and seas. Nothing in this book is at rest. The surface of the earth dilates and collapses; seas and mountains rise and fall; continents move.
Fortey again proves himself the ideal guide, with his superb descriptions of natural beauty, his gripping narratives, and his crystal-clear, always fascinating scientific explanations.
Here is a book to change the way we see the world.

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EARTH: An Intimate History

User Review  - Kirkus

A senior paleontologist at London's Natural History Museum looks at the new geology, offering an overview built around visits to exemplary sites.Fortey (Trilobite!, 2000, etc.) begins with volcanoes ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - solla - LibraryThing

There are many things I like about this book. One is just the subject matter. I like to read about the inner workings of the earth, volcanoes, plate tectonics, the forming and breakup of super ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Richard Fortey is a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Life was short-listed for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1998, Trilobite! was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001, and The Hidden Landscape was awarded the Natural World Book of the Year in 1993. He was Collier Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology at the Institute of Advanced Studies in 2002 and is now a Fellow of the Royal Society. He lives in London.

Richard Fortey’s Life and Trilobite are available in Vintage paperback.

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