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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A critically important book, 29 Mar 2008
By 
Mr. D. V. Belfield (London, Great Britain.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Reef in Time: The Great Barrier Reef from Beginning to End (Hardcover)
This book may well turn out to be among the most important of this century. An easy boast, but warranted nonetheless.

Apart from anything else, it is a rare delight to come across a carefully structured, intelligently pitched exposition of what is a complex, intricate subject. Veron clearly has the academic gravitas and communication skills to spell out the lessons he has learned over his four decades of study of coral reefs.

The book has important things to say about past environments as they relate to the Great Barrier Reef, and why the burgeoning rise in atmospheric CO2 levels heralds wholesale alteration of ocean chemistry. Veron handles the whole issue of time - geological as juxtaposed to human-focused - in a soberly trenchant manner. It allows you to set in context the utter precariousness of humanity's current spate with regard to the healthy functioning of this planet's life-support systems.

Coral reefs, rainforests, top soils and fish stocks are not just dinky add-ons to this down-home lil' planet we all "share" with our fellow earth-mates. They must be accorded the same importance we assign to our own livers, skin layers and immune-systems. They help keep all ecosystems viable and we bloody well need them!

My only criticism is that editors have almost certainly not given this author as much space as he deserves. The book could quite easily run to another 30 pages and give us more background biology of corals today to allow non-specialist readers to get a better handle on why they are so important to marine ecosystems.

But overall, this is a finely judged effort at popular understanding, one we all badly need. Urgently. The pictures are nice too.

If the politicians we see fit to elect to office would only take some time to read and assess what this book has to say so compellingly, maybe we would see some real leadership emerge to tackle the crisis which billows up like a thundercloud above us.

And if on completing this book, it hasn't scared seven pails of warm, liquid BeJeezus out of you, ease back. Relax. Forget it. It means you're dead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be much more widely read than it appears to be., 9 Mar 2009
By 
A. Hill (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Reef in Time: The Great Barrier Reef from Beginning to End (Hardcover)
The author has been involved in coral research and classification for his entire career and I have followed his more accessible works for about 20 years. The fact that he has written this book is a cause for attention and, as it turns out, a cause for alarm. His arguments make frightening reading. Veron is always ready to point out that the problems facing the world climate are surmountable through political will although there is an underlying suggestion that he himself is not very optimistic.
I would strongly recommend this book for those with an interest in our planet (not merely the Great Barrier Reef) and suggest that it is far from a refreshing, amusing or relaxing read.
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A Reef in Time: The Great Barrier Reef from Beginning to End
A Reef in Time: The Great Barrier Reef from Beginning to End by J E N Veron (Hardcover - 11 Jan 2008)
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