Top positive review
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Everything you need to know ...
on 3 September 2009
... and never knew where to ask. This book is a triumph of structure, lucidity and design; it begins at the beginning, and lures you through the ensuing four billion years with seductive artwork, precise annotations, and crystal-clear prose. At its heart are 100 illustrations, each occupying a double-page spread, and recreating sites - from Western Australia to Arizona, from volcano to tropical forest, with ocean and desert inbetween - at crucial stages of the evolutionary story. The flora and fauna that existed at each period are imagined in delicate detail based on a seemingly forensic study of the evidence gleaned from bones and fossils. The composition is a joy - the true brilliance of which is revealed in a fold-out at the back of the book, where all the artworks flow together to create a panoramic view of the history of life. In addition there are discrete sections - site gazetteer, time-line, species listing, etc - which enable more detailed exploration away from the big-picture heart of the book.
It's unique - an extraordinary achievement.