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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.
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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 14 August 2017
2 scientifically incorrect facts in 1st few pages - inexcusable
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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!
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on 24 May 2012
In less than 300 pages Professor Hazen has written an easy-to-understand, convincing, different yet logical, explanation of Earth history from "stardust" to the present - and beyond. In doing so he has collaborated with experts in every conceivable discipline - on latest hypotheses in geology, chemistry, physics and biology. He has described most-recent attempts to solve important problems and in so doing has demonstrated the inter-connectedness of everything.

His hypothesis involves the co-evolution" of the geosphere and the biosphere - how rock crystals and organic molecules generated the first replicating organisms which in turn developed minerals that could not exist in a non-living world. Most minerals have come into existence only by inseparable chemical and biological processes.

Professor Hazen has introduced world-renowned practitioners in critical areas. He weaves into his narrative powerful, personal experiences. With his easy style and clear vision he overcomes any science-phobia of the reader.
And, amazingly, without the need for diagrams.
This book, with his other works, must mark him as a 21st century Sagan.
I can't wait for the DVD !

POSTSCRIPT: 18 JUNE 2014
There is a 48-Lecture course on DVD available through AMAZON. It is one of "The Great Courses"

The Origin and Evolution of Earth: From the Big Bang to the Future of Human Existence
Professor Robert M. Hazen George Mason UniversityPh.D., Harvard University Robert M. Hazen
Course No.1740 I think he should get a Nobel Prize (or similar).
I thoroughly recommend this course ( especially if you can get it at discount price).
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on 15 October 2015
Wonderful, everyone should read it. So good I wrote to Robert M. Hazen to say so
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on 5 August 2013
Most geology books (and I've read quite a few) concentrate on the last 500,000 years of earth's history. In this book that period gets just a single chapter. The bulk of the book is about earlier times from big bang on.

It's remarkable how much can be deduced from so little surviving evidence. A detective story par excellence.

Highly readable. Highly recommended.
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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.
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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 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.
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