Synopses & Reviews
An enlightening investigation of the Pleistocene’s dual character as a geologic time — and as a cultural idea.
The Pleistocene is the epoch of geologic time closest to our own. It’s a time of ice ages, global migrations, and mass extinctions — of woolly rhinos, mammoths, giant ground sloths, and not least early species of Homo. It’s the world that created ours.
But outside that environmental story there exists a parallel narrative that describes how our ideas about the Pleistocene have emerged. This story explains the place of the Pleistocene in shaping intellectual culture, and the role of a rapidly evolving culture in creating the idea of the Pleistocene and in establishing its dimensions. This second story addresses how the epoch, its Earth-shaping events, and its creatures, both those that survived and those that disappeared, helped kindle new sciences and a new origins story as the sciences split from the humanities as a way of looking at the past.
Ultimately, it is the story of how the dominant creature to emerge from the frost-and-fire world of the Pleistocene came to understand its place in the scheme of things. A remarkable synthesis of science and history, The Last Lost World describes the world that made our modern one.
An enthralling scientific and cultural exploration of the Ice Age — from the author of How the Canyon Became Grand
From a remarkable father-daughter team comes a dramatic synthesis of science and environmental history — an exploration of the geologic time scale and evolution twinned with the story of how, eventually, we have come to understand our own past.
The Pleistocene is the epoch of geologic time closest to our own. The Last Lost World is an inquiry into the conditions that made it, the themes that define it, and the creature that emerged dominant from it. At the same time, it tells the story of how we came to discover and understand this crucial period in the Earth’s history and what meanings it has for today.
About the Author
Stephen J. Pyne is a professor of history at Arizona State University, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and winner of the 1995 Los Angeles Times Robert Kirsch Award for Arts and Letters. His book The Ice was named one of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year. His eleven groundbreaking books include the five-volume Cycle of Fire. He lives in Glendale, Arizona.
Table of Contents
Overlook: The View from Dutton Point
Two New Worlds
Canyon, Found and Lost
Second Age, Second Chance
Rim and River
Lonely and Majestic Way: Big Cañon
Into the Great Unknown: Grand Canyon
Against the Currents: Return to Big Cañon
A Great Innovation: Grand Ensemble
Leave It as It Is: One of the Great Sights
Canyon and Cosmos
Modernism Moves On: The Populist Canyon
Down the River and Back from the Brink: The Environmentalist Canyon
Afterword: A Review from Point Sublime
Appendix: The Grand Canyon: A Graphical Profile
Sources and Further Readings