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on 11 September 2012
I could not help myself with the title of my review. This book is actually mostly about rocks. But if you want to write about the history of our planet it will be a history about geology and much less about biology.

Professor Hazen has tried to compress 4.5 billion years of history into a book of 300 pages. He has succeeded very well. He has written about our planet going through several stages of development and he manages to explain and link them together so you experience a 4.5 billion fast trip through history. Finding a similar book will not be easy since most books about pre-human history tends to focus on dinosaurs or other biological life in our past.

Professor Hazen writes in an easy and clear way. He is interlinking the story with personal memories that helps creating a book that is not some dry academic textbook but instead a book that anyone with an interest in our past could pick up and enjoy.

These are no illustrations in the book. It would have helped to have a few so that instead of explaining in text about continental drift you could just show us but in a typical modern way we are instead proposed to check out a Webb-site where we can see this in an animated way. Still if you read in bed those Webb-sites are probably not instantly available.

The Book ends with his discussion about our future. It is mostly a very bleak one. I wish he could have been more optimistic but I am afraid he is right.

This is a book well worth reading. I recommend it warmly.
12 people found this helpful
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on 5 August 2016
I bought this as a humble ‘Joe Public’ with a passing interest in the concept of ‘deep time’ and of how our planet evolved. So glad I did.

It’s great to step into the world of an academic scientist like this, not only to gain such a wealth of information, but also to catch a glimpse of their private lives, including field trips here, there and everywhere, with these wonderful ‘boffins’ obtaining so much pleasure simply by looking at rocks. And, more importantly, passing all that wealth of knowledge onto us, even though (in my case) we may not always completely understand what we’re being told.

But that’s my fault, not the author’s, who gives us a real tour-de-force here with a skip through 4.5 billion years of earth’s history, including ‘big wallops’ and ‘little wallops’ and other decidedly unscientific names for complex and dramatic events in the planet’s history.

That is certainly the key to the appeal of this book. Here is a scientist at the top of his game, presenting the results of his accumulated knowledge in a relatively easy to read and understand way for pure laymen like me, leaving us hungry for more.

I loved it. And learned so much from it. Bravo, Professor!
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on 19 February 2018
Very good book to give an introduction to the subject for anyone remotely interested in the history of our planet or in geology. The structure is well thought and practical.
Highly recommended
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on 15 October 2015
Wonderful, everyone should read it. So good I wrote to Robert M. Hazen to say so
One person found this helpful
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on 1 February 2016
Super insight to earth and it's history with an easy to follow language!
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on 31 August 2012
I seldom find the time to do anything these days...let alone write a review...but I fell that this time, it is a necessity. Hazen has crafted a beautiful, intricate and compelling summary of the history of the Earth (certainly, 4.5 billion years is no easy task). Without going into too much detail, without patronising the reader with obvious information, written in a style that is easily enjoyable, this book is a gem. Hazen is up there with the rest of them, i.e. Sagan, Fortey, Dawkins, Lane, Benton, etc. in bringing the beauty and fascination of science in an accessible format. I can assure you, if you have an interest in science, you won't be able to put this book down. Well done!
6 people found this helpful
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on 15 March 2014
Since I am not an expert, I cannot say how accurate this text is. Certainly, it seems plausible, and it reads like a novel. I am very pleased with this purchase, and I commend it to other browsers.
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on 22 January 2015
The story is enthralling and told with verve and I, for one - speaking as a professional geologist - found it gripping. The book lays it out for anyone to see in the grand sweep of our origins in spacedust. It is one of the most un-put-downable books I've read in a long time.
2 people found this helpful
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on 21 December 2013
Love this book - exactly what I needed as a simplified overview of a course that I'm taking with the Open University.
One person found this helpful
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on 16 September 2015
Excellent book
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