The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Hardcover – 13 Feb 2014
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A distinctive and eloquent voice of conscience ... In her timely, meticulously researched and well-written book, Kolbert combines scientific analysis and personal narratives to explain it to us. The result is a clear and comprehensive history of earth's previous mass extinctions ... "People change the world," Kolbert writes, and vividly presents the science and history of the current crisis. Her extensive travels in researching this book, and her insightful treatment of both the history and the science all combine to make The Sixth Extinction an invaluable contribution to our understanding of present circumstances, just as the paradigm shift she calls for is sorely needed (Al Gore, New York Times)
I tore through Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction with a mix of awe and terror. Her long view of extinction excited my joy in life's diversity - even as she made me aware how many species are currently at risk (Dava Sobel, author of Longitude and A More Perfect Heaven)
Elizabeth Kolbert writes with an aching beauty of the impact of our species on all the other forms of life known in this cold universe. The perspective is at once awe-inspiring, humbling and deeply necessary (T.C. Boyle)
Well-composed snapshots of history, theory and observation that will fascinate, enlighten and appal many readers (Guardian)
Compelling ... It is a disquieting tale, related with rigour and restraint by Kolbert (Observer)
Passionate ... This is the big story of our age. We are living through the historically rare elimination of vast numbers of species. And for the first time, it is our fault ... Uplifting prose about the wonders of nature. But the overwhelming message of this book is as clear as that of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962. We humans have become a geological force in our own right - and, unless we act, the consequences will be devastating (Sunday Times)
It is oddly pleasurable to read Elizabeth's Kolbert's new book, which offers a ramble through mass extinctions, present and past ... A wonderful chapter covers the North Atlantic's once-abundant, flightless great auks ... Wisely, Ms Kolbert refuses to end on an optimistic note (Economist)
Kolbert has not only grasped the enormity of what we are unleashing, but can present it in a way that even the average human with a short historical attention span can grasp. Read this book (Peter Forbes, Independent)
Kolbert is a witty, deft writer with an eye for vivid colour. She takes us from sun-blistered desert islands on the Great Barrier Reef to the sopping Peruvian jungle ... Hers is a deadly message, delivered in elegant prose, and we can't afford to ignore it (Philip Hoare, Sunday Telegraph)
a book that can be dipped into or read from cover to cover. (Biologist)
A major book about the future of the world, blending natural history, field reporting and the history of ideas and into a powerful account of the mass extinction happening todaySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The author in her work used an expert way to merge scientific facts and forecasts for the human future that can be inferred from the natural current and historical indicators; the result is a thrilling book that is quick and easy to read, although its foreboding is sometimes a bit of ominous.
Kolbert decided to divide her book into two parts; in first part she discusses how humans came up with theories of species mass extinction while in second half she is more concerned with the human impact on nature and eco-systems, mostly global warming and increase of ocean acidification, that resulted with large changes and extinction in plant and animal species in the short time which in the lifetime of the planet can be considered a blink of an eye.
What made her book looking serious is the fact that at no time author does not allow scientific quality of her claims to be clouded with politicization - therefore, Kolbert's book is not a political pamphlet nor she had the desire to take reader subtly in one direction. Instead the author delivered a work of investigative journalism in its essence which as much as its topics and conclusions may seem complex, didn't even for a moment went into cheap platitudes.Read more ›
I have only one reservation, and it's not about the author and certainly not about her sparkling writing, nor is it about her scrupulous reporting of the science: no, it's about the book as a production (and I'm writing about the hardback).
I found quite early on that I wanted to go to the web and google images -- to see pictures of the sites she visits where research is going on, the institutions where she interviews researchers, and many, many of the large numbers of animals, plants and trees she discusses. By the time I reached the middle of the book, I was almost using it as a sort of guide or handbook to digging further with the help of search engines.
I realise that to include several pages of colour photographs would have pushed the price of the book so high as to defeat its purpose of getting the information out to as large a number of people as possible, but I do think it's a shame there weren't at least a dozen or so such photographs. I should note that there are several low-resolution black-and-white images scattered throughout, but they're barely adequate, and no match for Kolbert's vivid prose.
I suppose future editions might carry an accompanying CD or DVD without making the publication too expensive. I did find that if I didn't actually see the things the author depicts, I was getting lost in abstractions.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a wide-ranging look at the way humans have exterminated species on this planet, put in a geological context. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Adam Dare
This is not a topic that I'm particularly interested in and as such I do not have much information on facts and background. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
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