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.
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Guest Review for Apocalyptic Planet from Neil Shubin
Neil Shubin is author of Your Inner Fish and the upcoming The Universe Within. He is provost of The Field Museum as well as professor of anatomy at the University of Chicago, where he also serves as an associate dean. Educated at Columbia, Harvard, and the University of California at Berkeley, he lives in Chicago.
Part field guide, part love letter, and part biography of Earth, Apocalyptic Planet looks at our ever-changing world to find refreshing and eye-popping insights in the most unlikely places. In glacial ice, rocky mountains, and dusty outcroppings on the desert floor, Craig Childs uses cutting-edge science to reveal the dazzling changes our planet has experienced. Seas have come and gone; mountains have risen only to fall; while whole continents have moved, split, and crashed into one another. The 4.67-billion-year-history of Earth has seen whole worlds collapse, with others born in their remains. Planetary apocalypse is the way of the world; our very presence on the planet has been shaped by cataclysm.
Craig Childs walking on the desert or climbing a mountain is like a gourmand at a sumptuous feast: the sensual delight with which he relishes the world around him gives the rest of us a vicarious thrill, even hunger. You just want to turn over that rock he sees, move dust to expose an ancient artifact, or scale the cave wall in front of him. Childs delights in the details of the rock, sand, and ice, and in them he finds stories as large as the planet itself. In his hands, the main casualty of apocalypse is our familiar view of Earth: it is impossible to read Craig Childs and see the world in the same way again.
A Look Inside Apocalyptic PlanetAbout 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.
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