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What on Earth Happened?: The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day Hardcover – 6 Oct 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (6 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747594597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747594598
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 4 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 440,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A charming book.... remarkably far-reaching and even-handed" -- The Sunday Times (Ed King)

"An entertaining and accessible narrative takes in all disciplines from astrophysics to anthropology to give inquisitive minds a rounded perspective on the events that have shaped our world". 9/10
-- Press Association (Lucy Christie)

"The compelling idea behind this book is to provide a history of the planet in one colourful and "easy-to-read" volume. Written by a former technology correspondent, it is an antidote to the mini-histories we learned at school that prevent us understanding the evolution of natural history...The result is remarkably far-reaching and even handed." -- The Sunday Times (Ed King)

"This book should be on every child's Christmas list...." -- BBC Breakfast (Bill Turnbull)

"This book should be on every child's Christmas list...."
-- BBC Breakfast (Bill Turnbull)

`This snappy history of our planet tells you something new on virtually every page'
-- Independent

Review

"This book should be on every child's Christmas list...."

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Who say's history is boring? Here we learn how past history will shape things to come...

Christopher Lloyd's book is a complete walk through of history from the big bang to the present day.

Providing history with such a holistic overview is a powerful reason to buy this book and should be a 'must have' item for every Year 7 school child in the UK studying history. It provides the reader with a true sense of history over time and space and the interrelationship with the natural environment - something that most children don't get an appreciation of in school. (I should know being an ex-teacher!)

The flexibility of the book is something that stands out - on the one hand it is an excellent reference book that will not date, on the other hand the author's easy and amusing narrative style makes this also a very easy "pick up and read when you like" coffee table book!

For me, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read from cover to cover. A gift for any occassion that will not fail to disappoint.
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Format: Hardcover
Want to understand what happened from the Big Bang onwards? This book is not only a joy to read, it is wonderfully informative and fascinating, especially to the non-scientific mind. I simply couldn't bear to part with it. Having renewed it three times at my library and read through it twice, I'll now happily invest in my own copy for future use and reference.
I'd never heard of the collision of planets Earth and Theia. Nor of a volcano that erupted for over a million years, that contributed to the Permian mass extinction; nor the crashing of the Indian plate into Asia, creating the Himalayas. Later in the book, I read about Ashoka, the Indian King, who spread the ideals of Buddhism throughout Asia; learned about Hammurabi, King of Babylon, who almost 4,000 years ago, established the legal principle that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.
I always wondered how scientists used carbon dating until this book explained it. I marvelled at the picture of what looked like a 'modern' work of art: the Venus of Willendorf, created some 24,000 years ago. How is it possible that Eratosthenes, hundreds of years before Christ, managed correctly to calculate the circumference of the earth?
I could go on, as every page contains gems of information that I wish I could fix in my mind.
Congratulations, Christopher Lloyd. Your book is a masterpiece, as far as I'm concerned.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fabulous book ... an important book ... not just a history book but something that gives a fantastic perspective, a glimpse of how we got here. The narrative flows through key points of the story of planet, the life on the planet and critically how humans fit into this story in the extraordinarily brief moment we've been
around. It weaves together the disparate bits of knowledge you may have along with much that probably you don't know into something that connects & illuminates. The whole is even greater than the sum of the parts ... indeed it is quite a moving experience at times and certainly enormously stimulating and relevant to many of the big questions we ask; both philosphical, political and simply everyday curiousities.
The book also has user friendly lay out making it easy to use as a reference or a good read. There are top ten lists e.g. key events, people, fruits & seeds, creatures etc and time is condensed & colour coded onto a 24hr clock. Eye opening and working on a number of different levels, I can thoroughly recommend this to everyone.What on Earth Happened?: The Complete Story of the Planet, Life and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day
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Format: Paperback
I found my opinion on this book swinging from negative to positive and back again as I read it. This is an excellent HISTORY book, but it's very weak when it comes to an understanding of science.

The first issue came with the description of how our universe came into existence. Leaving aside the fact that it crudely describes gravity as "glue", I found the presentation, several times throughout the book, of the theory that Earth collided with another planet called Theia to create our moon as if it were fact, rather than being merely one of several plausible theories, to be bordering on dishonesty.

I set this aside though as the book proceeded further into our history, because I started to appreciate that this being the 'in brief' version of this book that the author valued brevity ahead of absolute honesty in some areas. I began to thoroughly enjoy it from that point onwards and strongly admire the way it presents the history of various early civilisations in an easy to understand chronological manner, that many history books struggle to manage...often you're left with only a sketchy appreciation of what happened to who first, but this book handles this problem well, particularly in the way it will reference itself at points where overlaps occur so you can go back to an earlier page and re-read a section relevant to the section you're now at.

Unfortunately the book lets itself down again towards the end when the author starts to discuss modern problems of life. The information presented regarding CO2 levels and climate change feel as if it's been taken straight from the IPCC website, especially when it starts to mention a system of carbon trading as a way forward. This part is nonsense and immediately brought my earlier misgivings back to the surface.
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