Synopses & Reviews
, the acclaimed author of Trilobite!
takes us on a grand tour of the earth’s physical past, showing how the history of plate tectonics is etched in the landscape around us.
Beginning with Mt. Vesuvius, whose eruption in Roman times helped spark the science of geology, and ending in a lab in the West of England where mathematical models and lab experiments replace direct observation, Richard Fortey tells us what the present says about ancient geologic processes. He shows how plate tectonics came to rule the geophysical landscape and how the evidence is written in the hills and in the stones. And in the process, he takes us on a wonderful journey around the globe to visit some of the most fascinating and intriguing spots on the planet.
"UK paleontologist Richard Fortey has previously written about his particular field in the wonderfully accessible books Trilobite!: Eyewitness to Evolution
and Life: An Unauthorised Biography
. In the US, the latter title was Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth
, because publishers have a perverse need to rename books when they cross the Atlantic. Trilobite!
(I love the exclamation point, which they removed from the US edition) was about Fortey's particular critter of study, and Life
broadened out to encompass all of paleontology. With Earth
, Fortey has expanded further to cover plate tectonics." Doug Brown, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review
The face of the earth, crisscrossed by chains of mountains, has changed and changed again over billions of years. In this book Fortey shows how human culture and natural history--even the shape of cities--are rooted in this deep geological past.
About the Author
Richard Fortey is a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Life was short-listed for the Rh™ne-Poulenc Prize in 1998, Trilobite! was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001, and The Hidden Landscape was awarded the Natural World Book of the Year in 1993. He was awarded the Lewis Thomas Prize for science writing by Rockefeller University in 2004. He was Collier Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Bristol in 2002 and is now a Fellow of the Royal Society. He lives in London.