The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions Hardcover – 7 Sep 2017
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'His evocative prose brings the “incomprehensible eternities” of ancient history vividly alive…A remarkable journey into the deep past that has much to teach us about the future of our planet.'(Guardian)
‘Gripping… Brannen excels at evoking lost worlds.’(The New Yorker)
‘A book about one apocalypse – much less five – could have been a daunting read, were it not for the wit, lyricism, and clarity that Peter Brannen brings to every page. He is a storyteller at the height of his powers, and he has found a story worth telling.’(Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes)
‘An exciting detective story venturing into the extraordinary worlds of our Earth’s past to discover what caused them to end. Brannen describes unimaginable floods, planet-scale catastrophes and incredible creatures that were once common. A cautionary tale for the future of our human age.’(Gaia Vince, author of Adventures in the Anthropocene)
‘[Brannen] is a companionable guide, as good at breathing life into the fossilized prose of scientific papers as he is at conjuring the Ordovician reign of the nautiloids.’(New York Times Book Review)
‘Urgent, compelling and beautifully written, Peter Brannen brings immense geological timescales sharply into focus, forcing us to reflect on humanity’s brief but potent impact on the planet through the lens of deep time. Whether through fascination with the ancient past or grim fear for our future, The Ends of the Worlds is essential reading.’(Kat Arney, science writer and broadcaster)
‘If readers have time for only one book on the subject, this wonderfully written, well-balanced, and intricately researched (though not too dense) selection is the one to choose.’(Library Journal, starred review)
‘A vivid, fascinating story about all the past and future lives of our planet. Peter Brannen has the knack of opening up new worlds under our feet.’(Michael Pye, author of The Edge of the World)
‘History repeats itself, the first time as a tragedy, the second as farce. Human history, that is. But the history of life on planet Earth only ever repeats as tragedy, as Peter Brannen explains in this powerful and unsettling book. The Ends of the World recounts the breath-taking stories of the five mass extinctions that have punctuated and diverted the course of evolution. Its vertiginous sense of the awful fragility of living things will never leave you, not least because humanity may now be writing the ultimate end of Brannen’s riveting tale.’(Stephen Curry, professor of structural biology, Imperial College)
About the Author
Peter Brannen is an award-winning science journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Wired, New York Times, Washington Post and Slate, amongst other publications. You can follow him on Twitter @PeterBrannen1. He lives in Boston.
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The author manages to make the most mind bogglingly boring facts fascinating.
This is one book I will read again which is unusual for me.
book would benefit from more colour and pictures but is well-written and informative