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Five Billion Years of Global Change: A History of the Land [Paperback]

Denis Wood
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Book Description

22 Jan 2004
Demonstrating how the story of our past can help us better understand the present, geographer Denis Wood tells the story of our entire past, from the Big Bang to the World Wide Web. Five Billion Years of Global Change takes readers through the formation of the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, continents, and mountains; the origin of life; the evolution of the human species; the spread of agricultural production; and the growth of international trade. In a uniquely evocative and philosophical style, Wood shows how a greater knowledge of the interconnectedness of our world could potentially change the way we approach contemporary problems. This eye opening book will be enjoyed by all readers interested in the history of our planet and concerned about its future.

Product details

  • Paperback: 335 pages
  • Publisher: Guilford Press (22 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157230958X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572309586
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 16.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,090,320 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Five Billion Years of Global Change is a dazzling intellectual journey that has the potential to alter profoundly the ways in which we think about our planet, human history, and our own lives. The book depicts an intricately interwoven physical reality at a multiplicity of scales, from aeons to nanosecond, from cosmos to the subatomic. Commanding a prodigious range of knowledge, Denis Wood writes in a captivating style all his own."--Wilbur Zelinsky, Department of Geography (Emeritus), The Pennsylvania State University"This book offers a deep meditation on the relation between place and time as the environments in which we live. Not since Hofstadter's "Godel, Escher, Bach" has a single text presented a thesis at once so radical and completely formed. Every section overturns popular preconceptions. Time and again, what at first seems an absurd statement becomes fully evident a few pages later. It is this type of inversion of the common wisdom that makes the book an important delight. Readers of Wood's earlier work will not be disappointed: "Five Billion Years of Global Change "does for environmental studies and natural history what "The Power of Maps "did for cartography."--Tom Koch, author and adjunct professor, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Canada"This inspiring book bursts into the emerging field of 'Big History'--history writ across all time, from the Big Bang to today--with an exhilarating style and sweep that should put it at the top of the genre. Cosmologist of the quotidian, geographer of Earth's grandest processes, Wood takes us from the Initial Instant through the earth's formation, life's beginnings, continents' shiftings, civilizations' risings and fallings, and on to our own contemporary habitations on the land. A bold, original, and visionary work."--Kent Mathewson, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University

About the Author

Denis Wood is a writer living in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is the author of several books, including the bestselling The Power of Maps, written for the award-winning Power of Maps exhibition he put together at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The exhibit was later remounted at the Smithsonian Institution. From 1974 to 1996, Wood was Professor of Design at North Carolina State University. He received a doctorate in geography from Clark University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Were I to run a probe, let's say from outer space, down through the stratosphere (through the ozone layer), through the tropopause and the troposphere, through whatever clouds of water vapor (is it raining?), down through the branches of a flamboyan (the raindrops breaking up on the leaves, bouncing and dripping and slipping off), through the zinc-plated roof beneath it, into a room, through a person, perhaps through his head and then his hand, through his cuatro (he's hunched over it, playing it against the sound of the rain on the roof), down through the floor boards, through the space beneath the house, through the shallow, red, friable, crumbling clay beneath it, through the rest of the lithosphere, through the asthenosphere, through the outer liquid core of nickel-iron into the solid mass that may lie there at the center of the Earth, at no point-at no point-would I have encountered a system at rest, a ground zero, a firm place on which to stand from which to observe the motion of everything else: it's all in motion. Read the first page
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1.0 out of 5 stars To be recycled 5 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you like a book that's really chatty, this is for you. My copy has been recycled.
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