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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2011
Asteroids have had a bad press as dinosaur killers and a threat to life on Earth. Ted Neild, a professional geologist who also has a knack of explaining complicated things in easy to understand language, puts all the scare stories in perspective, explaining how impacts from space played a part in the creation of the Earth, and may have been responsible for the emergence of intelligent life on our planet. The threat is still there, but it is nowhere near as big as the other problems facing humankind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2011
Hmmm. This sadly did not live up to my expectations - formed from reading a review, and then the first couple of promising chapters. These were largely abouit the history of meteors and how people perceived them. As the book went on, however, it got more and more turgid and I had difficulty finishing it. Somewhere in the middle it seemed to switch to a compendium of famous and not-so-famous living and dead scientists, complete with dates of birth etc - often people in which one could not be expected to have the slightest interest, e.g., lecturers at the author's university. And where was the publisher's editor?? I thought I'ld scream reading the word "savant", used on almost every page. Disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2013
Its a bit of a tough one with this book. I found the book unevenly interesting and of variable quality but in the end quite liked it.

From my point of view, the first half of the book tortuous and boring. I actually nearly gave up. Being an enthusiastic popular science reader, I very rarely abandon a read midway. The first half is packed with anecdotes that are from my opinion pointless and just not focused. The author divert so much that quite often I lost the point. Do we need to know the cost of repair of that car that got damage by a meteorite back in the 1960s? Do we need to know which career the kids of some scientist embraced? Do we need an entire paragraph describing the exact location of the impact of that meteorite that fell in France? Etc.
It seems countless paragraphs are written on things that just not deal with the subject of the book. "I bought the book to read about meteorites" was I thinking after the first half of the book. I was about to give it a miss but decided to hang on a bit more.

And then, finally, the author started to talk about the subject and it was great. Quickly after, I got into the book and could not put it down. Going through the KT killer, the debate between Keller and The Alvarez, etc. it all became very interesting. I particularly liked the description of the debate with Keller. The discovery of countless meteorites in the Ordovician rocks was also very well described, analysed and put into perspective.

One of the final chapter on the explosion of life after the "Ordovician bombardment" is also a good read.

So all in all, I enjoyed the book but after a very frustrating and slow moving first part.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2011
Well now I know that a lot I thought I knew about the impact of impacts (meteorite impacts that is) was wrong - but this fine book also showed how my understanding evolved so badly. The book documents the science, the evolution of each step in the changing understanding of that science, and even to some extent covers its reporting and use in popular culture. All this and a great cover design as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2012
This is a really interesting book, that explains why the earth needs its regular doses of meteorites. Even if you are already pretty well informed about popular astronomy, you will find lots of intriguing information in this book - it is an easy read and one that you will want to re-read and share.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2011
This book, like its author, is first class and explains in easily understood terms the wonders of space which can be difficult to comprehend in view of their magnitude.
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... so it must be good! Although some of her recent reading around the subject has been found wanting, this book fulfilled the promise on the cover, and is heartily recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2013
uses the phrase science is not democratic ,yet a few paragraphs later on castigates climate change doubters for not heeding the majority (conspirecy) opinion. a good informative read otherwise
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