If you watch nature programmes, Edward O Wilson is one of those intrepid biologists you see fairly frequently, looking serious and concerned, dressed for the jungle and being interviewed about deforestation, biodiversity, ecology and so on. He's one of my favourite "talking heads", along with the likes of David Attenborough. This is the first time I've read one of his books and I found it fascinating. His writing style is not as easy and fluent as some other writers I could mention. The best plain English writer in this general area (well, close enough: evolutionary biology, which is just as potentially technical and complicated) is Richard Dawkins, in my opinion. But Mr Wilson's style gets easier after a couple of chapters as you settle into his flow.
There's a comprehensive Foreword and, at the end there are Notes, a Glossary and an Index. the body of the book is divided into 3 sections:
1) "Violent Nature, Resilient Life" covers the destructive forces of nature such as those that have wiped out vast numbers of species in the past and describes how life clings on and returns to repopulate zones of devastation.
2) "Biodiversity Rising" covers the generation of biodiversity: how and why new species evolve; the time this takes; potential extent of the diversity in various types of habitat.
3) "The Human Impact" covers the ways humans have driven and are driving species to extinction, the speed of destruction, the time it would take to re-establish a high level of biodiversity, the possible consequences of severe reduction in biodiversity for life on earth and humanity in particular, and what can be done to slow down and reverse the impoverishment trend.
The author presents his facts and lays out the case for conservation in a very cool and logical way. He doesn't give the impression of emotional over-reaction that some people in government and industry (those with a strong economic interest) accuse environmentalists of showing. The case set out in this book is chillingly clear and convincing. It's a subject that should concern everyone on the planet so I recommend this book to all of them.