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Life on Earth: A Natural History [Hardcover]

Sir David Attenborough
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company; American ed edition (1 Sep 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316057452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316057455
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 17.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,295,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sir David Attenborough is Britain's best-known natural history film-maker. His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned nearly six decades.

His first job - after Cambridge University and two years in the Royal Navy - was at a London publishing house. Then in 1952 he joined the BBC as a trainee producer, and it was while working on the Zoo Quest series (1954-64) that he had his first opportunity to undertake expeditions to remote parts of the globe, to capture intimate footage of rare wildlife in its natural habitat.

He was Controller of BBC2 (1965-68), during which time he introduced colour television to Britain, then Director of Programmes for the BBC (1969-1972). However, in 1973 he abandoned administration altogether to return to documentary-making and writing, and has established himself as the world's leading Natural History programme maker with several landmark BBC series, including Life on Earth (1979), The Living Planet (1984), The Trials of Life (1990), The Private Life of Plants (1995), Life of Birds (1998), The Blue Planet (2001), Life of Mammals (2002), Planet Earth (2006) and Life in Cold Blood (2008).

Sir David was knighted in 1985, is an Honorary Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Royal Society, and stands at the forefront of issues concerning the planet's declining species and conservation

Product Description


A history of evolution and animal life on earth examines the development, characteristics and evolutionary sophistication and adaptation of animals in each major biological group.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life on earth 26 Feb 2003
A brilliantly intriguing look at how life started, from the tiniest form of life to the human being, showing in a comprehendable way, which is fairly easy to undertand, this progress. This helps us to understand how much has changed and happened and explores things a reader who has little knowledge of can understand.
A very intriguing read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars life on earth 26 Jan 2009
This book is the written companion to the 13 part TV series screened in 1979 and was David Attenboroughs first major production.
Although the book does not have the visual impact of the TV it makes up for it by the excellent text.
Tha book takes an unusual view of life starting 600 million years ago and progressing to the present day -this is well illustrated by the tree of life on pages 310-311.
The major fault with this book is that although the pictures are good they are printed on matt paper instead of gloss which destroys their impact.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Bill
For anyone interested in the world around them, this book is a must-have. Attenborough and his team of researchers cover life from its earliest origins to the present day with breathtaking coherence and a gripping writing style. Did you know that jellyfish go through a polyp stage where they are attached to the sea-bed, before sprouting the more familiar medusa form that is the bane of swimmers? Or that sloths are so sluggish that they can die of starvation on a full stomach, simply because they can't digest food fast enough? There are so many facts in this book that it is difficult to know which ones are the most interesting. The only minor criticism is that there is less of a story than Attenborough's earlier books such as the Zoo Quest series (The Zoo Quest Expeditions: Travels in Guyana, Indonesia and Paraguay, although the upside of this is that there is more detail on the animals themselves.

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