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In Maryland, late in the spring of 1816, the snow fell brown, and blue, and even red. Brown snow fell in Hungary that year, and in the village of Taranto in southern Italy, where any snow is rare, the red and yellow snow caused great alarm. In New England, 1816 was called the Year Without a Summer. Crops failed throughout America, the price of corn and wheat soared, and farmers (lacking feed) sold off livestock, bringing about a collapse in beef and pork prices. In Western Europe, it was even worse, a major disaster, with food riots and armed groups raiding bakeries and grain markets. This turmoil followed a catastrophic volcanic eruption a year earlier on the other side of the world--the April 1815 explosion of the volcano called Tambora, on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa--a blast heard almost a thousand miles away in Sumatra.
In Tales of the Earth, Charles Officer and Jake Page describe some of the great events of environmental history, from natural catastrophes such as the Tambora eruption, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 (the greatest in recorded history), and the ice ages, to disasters such as the nuclear fallout from Chernobyl, acid rain, and the progressive depletion of the ozone layer. Officer and Page present much of their narrative through eye-witness accounts or through the commentary of prominent figures (in discussing the Lisbon earthquake, for instance, they recount the famous clash between Voltaire and Rousseau over the meaning of the disaster, and in discussing the Black Plague, they quote Boccaccio, whose Decameron was set during "the late deadly pestilence"). The authors provide fascinating discussions of meteorites and comets; of the demise of mammoths, mastodons, and dinosaurs; and of great floods that have swept the earth.
But if nature can make trouble for humanity, Officer and Page show that human activity can also make trouble for nature. They examine the depletion of natural resources (we burn coal and oil at millions of times their natural rate of production), air pollution in such major urban areas as Los Angeles and London (where the Killer Smog of 1952 caused the death of some four thousand people), and the pollution of major waterways, like the Chesapeake Bay and Lake Erie. And they explore the global impact of such phenomena as depletion of the ozone layer, acid rain, population growth, and the greenhouse effect.
Ranging from catastrophic eruptions at Santorini and Krakatoa to manmade disasters such as the mercury poisoning in Japan's Minamata Bay, Tales of the Earth will interest anyone concerned with the environment and the natural world.
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About the Authors:
Charles Officer is Research Professor in the Earth Sciences Department and Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Jake Page writes a column for Destination Discovery called "Jake's Page." He has written for Smithsonian, National Geographic, Reader's Digest, and many other magazines.
"Tales of the Earth reads like 'Ripley's Believe It or Not' with footnotes, but the authors are never less than scholarly. They respond to catastrophe with curiousity, not panic: if we can't banish natural disasters, we can at least learn to be better stewards of the planet."--Newsweek
"A splendid book, well-illustrated and engagingly written, skillfully blending vivid eyewitness accounts of natural catastrophes and man-made accidents with lucid discussion of their scientific explanation and human impact."--Frank H.T. Rhodes, President, Cornell University
"Exceptionally lively....From hundreds of millions of years ago to this summer, from droughts and ice ages and volcanos to the black plague, Officer and Page prance from topic to topic across the aeons, providing an irresistable combination of history, speculation, humor and 'hard science'
explanation."--Washington Post Book World
"Disasters make good reading. Charles Officer and Jake Page, a scientist and a science journalist, respectively, understand that."--The Boston Sunday Globe
"Big-league environmental events--chronicled in absorbing, illuminating style by office...The authors present a grab bag of awesome earthly happenings, concentrating on events so stupendous that they changed the course of history, or are in the process of doing so....A work of science that
reads like a good mystery--and that's entertainment."--Kirkus Reviews
"Ravaging ice, floods, titanic eruptions, noxious atmospheres, insidious plagues and extinctions, visitors from outer space, the enormous toll from imperceptible erosion over vast time....It's clear that we are still in danger when it comes to an Earth that constantly remakes itself from
inside and out. Here's compelling stories of a 'terra nova' full of violence and mayhem--with a dramatic sweep that has few parallels. And the discovery of these tales of Earth, full of great characters, remain the most compelling in all of science. But now a new and dangerous force is loosed on
the world--humans! By connecting Eearth's notorious past to the change we find around us today, Officer and Page provide a much needed perspective. If we can learn from the past, they believe we're up to the challenge of living with the Earth in the future."--Gregory Andorfer, Producer, Planet
Earth, Cosmos, and Space Age
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Book Description Oxford University Press, USA, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0195077857
Book Description Oxford University Press, 1993. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110195077857