Synopses & Reviews
The earth has died many times, and it always comes back looking different. In an exhilarating, surprising exploration of our planet, Craig Childs takes readers on a firsthand journey through apocalypse, touching the truth behind the speculation. Apocalyptic Planet
is a combination of science and adventure that reveals the ways in which our world is constantly moving toward its end and how we can change our place within the cycles and episodes that rule it.
In this riveting narrative, Childs makes clear that ours is not a stable planet, that it is prone to sudden, violent natural disasters and extremes of climate. Alternate futures, many not so pretty, are constantly waiting in the wings. Childs refutes the idea of an apocalyptic end to the earth and finds clues to its more inevitable end in some of the most physically challenging places on the globe. He travels from the deserts of Chile, the driest in the world, to the genetic wasteland of central Iowa to the site of the drowned land bridge of the Bering Sea, uncovering the micro-cataclysms that predict the macro: forthcoming ice ages, super-volcanoes, and the conclusion of planetary life cycles. Childs delivers a sensual feast in his descriptions of the natural world and a bounty of unequivocal science that provides us with an unprecedented understanding of our future.
"In an adventure tale, scientific overview, requiem, and celebration, Childs offers a mesmerizing and provocative look at our ever-changing, 'everending' planet. We live on 'an excitable planet,' one where mass extinctions five previous and a sixth currently underway happen in cycles we're only beginning to understand. To deconstruct popular notions of impending apocalypse and what such an event might entail, Childs, an adventure journalist and science commentator, sweeps readers away to Earth's most extreme environments: from Mexico's Sonoran desert where clustered bones of Pleistocene animals mark an ancient watering hole to a frigid, treeless expanse on the west coast of Greenland. In northern Patagonia, he visits a great melting ice field, the 'last of the Ice Age in retreat.' Hiking in Grundy County, Iowa, through steamy, humid fields ruthlessly cleansed of everything but dense rows of genetically modified corn, he notes how 'biodiversity, one of the key indicators for environmental quality, has tanked in these agricultural regions.' Stunning descriptions underscore that, by all evidence, 'This is what every mass extinction in earth's history has looked like.' Childs's lively writing reveals awesome, otherworldly landscapes a rock-riddled, monsoon-swollen river in northeastern Tibet; the stark, searing lava fields around Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano sharing his wonder at their existence as much as what they reveal about our planet's future and past. Agent: Kathy Anderson, Anderson Literary Management." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"An elegant and absorbing account of just how violently the earth can change — this is a very good book to read as we start to watch global warming provide a new shock on this scale." Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
About the Author
Craig Childs is a commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Men’s Journal, Outside, The Sun, and Orion. Awards he has won include the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award, the Rowell Award for the Art of Adventure, the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award, and, for his body of work, the 2003 Spirit of the West Award.