This book provides a very good overview of Earth's Climate history and is a must-read for anyone with an interest in how current human activity may affect our Climate(s). Also- finally a Kindle version that does contain all the (excellent) graphs and maps that a book like this requires; overall, excellent value for money.
The book is somewhat uneven though, between good didactic treatment of some topics and other sections reading more like a scientific Review in a specialized Journal. There are also a few glaring errors "..Swiss coast of the Baltic" (confusing Switzerland and, presumably, Sweden - I know- all a long way from Spain...). Also, technical terms are thrown in at one point but explained only later in the book (if at all). While the text cites many very interesting facts, it feels sometimes incomplete- for instance, if one mentions that the biological "explosion" in the Cambrian may be related to the emergence of the "Hox" gene, then it should really also be pointed out that this gene family was recently found to be responsible for both arthropod (eg insect) and mammalian body plans. Similarly, when it is stated that the density of leaf stomata (openings that allow exchange of gases) relates to CO2 levels, then it should also be mentioned that plants try to always limit these to avoid water loss, ie must compromise. It is this compromise setting that makes the correlation useful.
In spite of these shortcomings the book conveys very well the way Climatologists think about the global processes that control our Climate. What struck me most is the wild volatility of our Climate in the past few million years with dramatic reversals occurring sometimes within decades. It is still not clear to me if our climate really has started to wildly oscillate or that the record has merely become more precise, closer to present. If the former is true than probably the large ice sheets are responsible (for this volatility), as these did not exist before this "Glacial" era. Second, most of this period was much colder than the rare, comfy, short interglacials such as we enjoy today. Uriarte presents a long, well-balanced discussion over the possible consequences of CO2 increase and the political debate and international efforts to limit these, as well as other pollutants. What I felt missing was a more medium-term future Climate outlook in light of Earth's "natural trends". Uriarte cites a study concuding that "...no less than 35% of the [greenhouse gases] increase over the last 300 years is due to changes in agricultural land use", and also mentions William Ruddiman's hypothesis that human agriculture activity over the past millennia may so far have delayed the return to a new Glacial period (which Orbital forcing suggests should have started a long time ago). The fact that such a hypothesis can even be made by an eminent Climatologist is testimony to the uncertainty in this field regarding natural trends and the effects of human activity.
Studying Earth's Climate history is our best chance to understanding the future, and while clearly much remains to be discovered in this area, Uriarte's book in an excellent guide to our current knowledge in this area.