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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What else matters?, 7 April 2013
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This review is from: How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind (Hardcover)
As the sub-title states this is "The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind". In fact it also goes further to discuss the future facing the planet, its ecosystems and humanity in particular. The subject material covered is comprehensive, encompassing several scientific disciplines including cosmology, nucleosynthesis, the Solar system, Earth structure, plate tectonics, geochemistry, the origin and evolution of life forms, the evolution of Earth's atmosphere, natural catastrophes and climate changes. The interdependence of the developments of the surface of the planet and of life on it is repeatedly emphasised, especially the recent influence of humans.

Readers lacking a scientific education might find parts of the text difficult; indeed the authors must have faced a problem in judging where to set the level of presentation. In this regard, I found the book to be a curate's egg, perhaps reflecting the dual authorship. Whilst I was able to "eat up" many of the chapters, others were hard going - not because the material was advanced, but as a result of the style of writing which in places appeared to have been hurried, lacking self-criticism and indeed sometimes careless. The authors seemed to make heavy weather of chemistry, insisting on treating the Earth-Life interaction as a fuel cell; one analogy too far for this reader. Similarly I found the central chapters on geology excessively verbose and laboured. By contrast the early material on cosmology and celestial bodies, as well as the five final chapters, made for stimulating reading.

The book suffers from a few serious errors of fact and many sloppy mistakes in the assembly of figures, tables or text which should have been corrected after careful proof reading.

Despite the adversely critical aspects of this review, I regret neither my purchase of the book nor my time spent reading it. The information within it should be made available to a wide readership.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars correct, 13 Dec 2013
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This review is from: How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind (Hardcover)
The best book I have come across for accompanying a Geology degree. I am in my first year and it covers nearly all my modules, with such a diversity of up to date content and brilliantly written although still informative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ - Bought as reading list for Oxford Earth Science, 26 Sep 2013
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K. Wright (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind (Hardcover)
Ahhhh. Well. Need to get your head down to get into this one. Great read however takes commitment. Commitment well rewarded by insight into some really super stuff. Again, inspired by the new stuff going on with geochemistry and geochronology. If you are doing an Earth Science course, this is an absolute must read. Tough going at times but hey, well worth it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thorough, comprehensive summary, 12 Mar 2014
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Garry Paton "Garry Paton" (Germany) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind (Hardcover)
While still in the process of reading this book, I can already give a few valid points.

1. It is is extensive, taking a considerable time to read!
2. It is very comprehensive, including a lot of detailed information that I was ignorant of.
3. Each chapter is well written with a concise introduction and summary (excellent).
4. Very much up to date.

I would consider this book a 'must' for any undergraduate in the Earth Sciences. I only wish I had this book when I was a student....
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to build a habitable planet, 8 Jan 2013
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J. K. Pool - See all my reviews
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This review is from: How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind (Hardcover)
I was surprised and delighted at the depths the book goes into to on the subject. Certainly a book for the serious reader and not one to pick up and read through
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