The book is a sort of guided tour around a number of geological sites with which Fortey is personally familiar, such as the Grand Canyon, the European Alps and Vesuvius (the description of the eruption of Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii in AD 79 by Pliny the Younger is probably the first clear and objective description of a geological phenomenon.) He then uses their particular geological details to build a more general story of the geology of earth as it is generally understood today.
As a professional geologist at London's Natural History Museum, Fortey is well-qualified to tell this story. His writing skills have been widely acclaimed in earlier books such as Life: An Unauthorised Biography and Trilobite Eyewitness to Evolution. By giving the story a historical slant we can more readily understand how the present understanding of the earth story has been built up over the centuries and it introduces real people into the narrative. Consequently, the more technical aspects of present day earth science are rendered more palatable and understandable. The text is supported by a number of black and white diagrams and other pictures, which help illustrate some of the more complex processes and features of the earth. --Douglas Palmer. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Praise for ‘The Earth’:
‘A dazzling achievement. Richard Fortey is without peer among science writers.’ Bill Bryson
‘Books with a title this ambitious generally do not live up to their billing. This one does.’ New Scientist
‘“The Earth” is a true delight: full of awe-inspiring details…it blends travel, history, reportage and science to create an unforgettable picture of our ancient earth.’ Sunday Times
‘Read this book because it is, indeed, the best natural history of the first four billion years of life on earth.’ John Gribbin, Sunday Times
Praise for ‘The Hidden Landscape’:
‘Don’t drop dead until you have read “The Hidden Landscape”.’ Jonathan Keates, Observer
Praise for ‘Life: An unauthorised Biography’:
‘This is not a book for people who like science books. It is a book for people who love books, and life…[Fortey] has written a wonderful book.’ Tim Radford, Guardian
Praise for 'The Earth':
'The Earth is a true delight: full of awe-inspiring details … it blends travel, history, reportage and science to create an unforgettable picture of our ancient earth.' Sunday Times
'Fortey writes beautifully and this is a wonderful biography of rock and life … He has restored palaeontology to its rightful place in the pantheon.' Lewis Wolpert, Observer
'The tale of life needs constant retelling. Thank some happy accident of history that we have Fortey to tell it to us anew.' Ted Nield, New Scientist
About the Author
Richard Fortey retired from his position as senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in 2006. His previous books include the critically acclaimed 'Life: An Unauthorized Biography', shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1998, 'Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution', shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001, 'The Hidden Landscape', which won the Natural World Book of the Year in 1993 and 'Fossils – A Key to the Past' which is now in its third edition. He also won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Science Writing in 2003. He was Collier Professor for the Public Understanding of Science in 2002, has been elected to be President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007, and is a member of the Royal Society. His latest book 'Dry Store Room no 1 – The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum' is published by Harper Collins in January 2008.