In this large format paperback, six experts address six different eras in the history of life, from its chemical origins to the history of the human species. The concept is a good one, but the execution is uneven. The best of these presentations are balanced, clear, and informative. Unfortunately, the first article is the driest and most technical, a fact that may turn off non-specialist readers. One wishes that Schopf had provided an introductory overview or had required more consistency in presentation from other authors. Each article is illustrated by diagrams and black and white photographs, some of which are too small or too murkily reproduced to allow close examination of details.