The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet by Robert M. Hazen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My science training is severely lacking in historical geology, so I've always wanted to read a good textbook on the subject, but textbooks are very dry reading. So, I've always been on the lookout for a well written book about the evolution of the earth in a geological as well as biological context. Robert M. Hazen did just that with this book and he did an excellent job of making the earth a character with a story. From the formation of the solar system to the eventual probable demise of the earth 5 billion years from now, he describes what happened and how we know or believe it happened that way. He lays out the processes and the evidence in a descriptive manner that sparks the imagination. His narrative style is engaging and it's not hard to find yourself wondering what it would have been like to be there as it happened, which is where my only criticism comes in. A reader of this book book would have enormously benefited from photographs, illustrations, maps and artist renderings of what he so vividly describes. If possess a good imagination and have some familiarity with geology, this is a wonderful read. Otherwise, you'll be hard pressed to visualize what Hazen describes, even though he describes it quite well.
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