The Earth: An Intimate History

The Earth An Intimate History The face of the world is quite different from what it was million years ago yet the legacy of the remote past lives on in the land vegetation industries and mines And it is of interest that th

  • Title: The Earth: An Intimate History
  • Author: Richard Fortey
  • ISBN: 9780002570114
  • Page: 210
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The face of the world is quite different from what it was 1000 million years ago, yet the legacy of the remote past lives on in the land, vegetation, industries and mines And it is of interest that the way we see the Earth through the eyes of science has altered so profoundly in the last 100 years This is a book that conveys and explains the many textures of the world FThe face of the world is quite different from what it was 1000 million years ago, yet the legacy of the remote past lives on in the land, vegetation, industries and mines And it is of interest that the way we see the Earth through the eyes of science has altered so profoundly in the last 100 years This is a book that conveys and explains the many textures of the world Fortey describes why the Yellow River is yellow, why the beach on which Captain Cook landed is now forty metres above sea level, and why diamonds are concentrated in so few places.

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    About "Richard Fortey"

    1. Richard Fortey

      Richard Fortey is a senior paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in London and a Fellow of the Royal Society He was Collier Professor in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bristol in 2002 His books have been widely acclaimed Life A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth Knopf was short listed for the Rh ne Poulenc Prize in 1998, and Trilobite Eyewitness to Evolution Knopf was short listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001 His latest book, Earth An Intimate History Knopf, 2004 , has been called dazzling, remarkable, splendid, and important and timely.

    550 thoughts on “The Earth: An Intimate History”

    1. Is it possible for a book to be utterly fascinating and yet, at the same time, a perfect cure for insomnia? I never would have thought so, until I read this one.That does sound horribly contradictory, and yet it is true. Reading this book, I found myself drawn in by the power of Fortey's words and this obvious enthusiasm for the subject. He's a paleontologist by trade, but his era of expertise goes so far back that it's practically geology anyway. And geology is what this book is all about.There [...]


    2. About a month ago, I was looking through the courses I had to choose from as an Environmental Science major, making up a short list for class sign-up in September. The options were evenly divided between Biology and Geology classes, and I was leaning heavily toward the former; geology seemed quite drab. Having picked up Earth at a used book store near the end of July, under the impression or at least with the hopes that it would be a more general, chronological overview of the formation of the E [...]


    3. I am not very fond of geology, but the beautiful poetic style of Richard Fortey's prose makes this book a joy to read. For example, he writes,"The cycles of the earth--the generation and destruction of plates--probably happened andante cantabile rather than largo."Fortey interleaves poetry among his prose, and thereby shows his overwhelming enthusiasm for geology--though I could have done with a bit less of the poetry. He shows his enthusiasms in other ways, too, by announcing where his personal [...]


    4. THE EARTH: An Intimate History. (this ed. 2011; orig. ed. 2004). Richard Fortey. ***. This is a publication from The Folio Society, a reprint of the original 2004 edition. The author’s sole purpose was to travel the world picking examples of various geological formations that illustrated the effects of tectonic plate theory. I’m not sure who the author’s audience was intended to be, but it would have had to be a science-educated reader who had some prior knowedge of geology. Most of the ma [...]


    5. As with Fortey's other books, I really enjoyed this -- and that seems more important with this one since it's about geology, which is not something that's ever been a particular interest of mine. Fortey has a discursive, conversational style, while still getting in a lot of information and technical language. And in all of his books, it's a sort of travelogue, too, which is quite interesting.It's hardly a completely exhaustive history of Earth, but it takes exemplars from various geographies and [...]


    6. Fortey's love of geology really comes through in this work. It was both fascinating and insightful. The pictures were great, the timeline was not linear so it really kept a good pacing. It kind of meandered around topics and points of interest on the earths crust similar to how your mind would analyze a problem. A wonderful edition truly.


    7. I really liked the subject material in this book, and I liked the fact he used a lot of easy to understand examples, but I think he talked a little too long about some of them. I would have loved this book if it had been about 1/4-1/3 shorter. I'm not sure if this is because I have a strong background in geology and didn't need to have such an in depth example to understand or what, but parts of the book were seriously difficult to slog through.That being said, when he was on top of his game, th [...]


    8. A fascinating book, although as someone with no background in geology I sometimes found it a struggle. I suspect there is an editing problem - although often well calibrated for a lay reader, in several chapters I found myself wondering how many lay reader would really be interested or engaged in that section. Generally though it was tremendously engaging and informative. It gave me a much deeper appreciation for the tremendous dynamism and powerful processes shaping the earth, and often did it [...]


    9. A fascinating introduction to geology. Geology books didn't attract me as potential for a great read until I read an early review of this one. A vast area of knowledge which was vague to me turns out to be endlessly fascinating. Highly recommended, as are Professor Fortey's other books: especially fond of the trilobite he is.


    10. This book is beautiful. The Earth deserves this book. It is more than geography and geology (which are more than sufficient), but it is these too; it is a love story about our planet.


    11. This is a well written, panoramic portrait of earth marred only by the occasional Eurocentric pimple. For example: the author-scientist rides Buttermilk the Donkey down into the Grand Canyon, carefully explaining the millions of years of earth's history hidden in plain sight, when, oops, out pops a racist cliche - that a white European was the first to "explore" this natural wonder in the mid 19th century. Huh? This, while also describing how Native peoples have lived there for thousands of year [...]


    12. More than a casual read, though worthwhile for someone who desires a crash course in geological history. The author is at his best when he gets caught up in social/historical context and remembers that we are not fellow geologists.


    13. A bit too much poetry for my taste as far as science books are concerned, otherwise I would have given it 5 stars. I especially enjoyed 'Oceans and continents', 'Fault lines', and 'Deep things' chapters which are more informative and more descriptive than the rest. A good read if you are into earth sciences.



    14. This was a long read. I have almost never spent so long reading one book. The topic is a history of the earth, though, so I suppose that is excusable.The history is told from a geologist's perspective, of course; everything from Sargon to now takes place in the blink of an eye, and much too recent to bother with, from that point of view.However, this book also tells the history of geology, starting from around the 1700's (with a few mentions of earlier points such as the writings of Pliny the yo [...]


    15. This singular and lovely book provides a journey through the history of the Earth that is centered on an exploration of specific places and themes rather than chronologies or classifications. It begins with an exegesis of Vesuvius, Hawaii, and the geology of the Alps that underscores a second major theme of the book: the history of geology itself, and the way that our knowledge about the world radically shapes our perceptions of even the most concrete aspects of reality. The book proceeds to dis [...]


    16. It took me years to finish this book, but I loved it. Fortey writes like a writer and makes his subjects come alive. But, there's a lot of data to absorb. If I've remember .001% of it, great. The take away, for me, is the larger concepts, and that's important because I live on the brink of a 9.0 earthquake in the Pacific Northwest.The last chapter of this book gives a literal overview of the earth. We're flying above it with Fortey. This could be a stand-alone paper for high school.


    17. "[Geologic time] should provoke a sense of our own insignificance, but it also stimulates a sense of wonder that we, alone among organisms, have been privileged to see these vanished worlds, and challenged to understand the immensity of time."An erudite, beautifully written tale of how the surface of the earth came to be as it is. A history of geology and plate tectonics shoots through the narrative like "dark Scourie Dyke cutting through pale gneiss." The thesis that geology sets the parameters [...]



    18. Earth: An Intimate History is at its heart a travelogue of some the most interesting geological sights from around the world. Fortey offers a wonderfully multi-layered narrative of local history, geology, and cultural perspectives into an interesting and often engaging exposition of what lies underfoot. In a lot of ways this is the perfect way for those unfamiliar with the science of geology, especially those that might find geology itself to be a dull or boring science. Introducing cultural his [...]


    19. As much as I enjoyed his book on Trilobites and as interested as I am in geology, this meaty book was almost too much to handle (and I read John McPhee's Annals of the Former World. and ate it up - but, of course, that got a Pulitzer). The literary quotations included, whilst showcasing Fortey's well-rounded education, were merely annoying and the one by D. H. Lawrence about a tortoise seemed pointless. It took me months to read this because I had to mull over the material bit by bit to make sur [...]


    20. This is a book that is mini-travelogue and mostly earth science written in language suitable mainly for the geologist. The work fails to evoke the voyage of discovery for the novice that its back-jacket reviews promise, and the non-technical reader is left to figure out the real differences between gneisses and granites, and navigate abstruse vocabulary like "ophiolites" and "geosynclines" without sufficient grounding. While the author presents many useful facts like the folding processes that c [...]


    21. The Earth is a big, fat (480 page) book about geology. Richard Fortey writes extremely well and it’s an impressive attempt to make a fairly dense subject exciting.I have to admit though I nearly didn’t finish it; by about halfway though I’d had about as much as I could take of schist, gneiss, nappes and the endless litany of different places, geological periods and minerals that every new page seemed to require. So I put it down for a few weeks.But eventually I built up the willpower to fi [...]


    22. Fortey, the leading scholar of trilobites (a giant marine wood louse that lived 450 million years ago), turns to geological history in Earth. He calls his work an "anti-textbook," and this moniker aptly describes the pros and cons of his book. In colorful and dramatic vignettes that delve deep inside Earth processes, from India's lava flows to the formation of the Alps, Fortey makes clear that Earth is a dynamic place beyond human control. But, if his descriptive travels generally lack geo-jargo [...]


    23. Fortey's a great writer, and this book is on a pretty interesting topic (at least, to me). However, I have the same problem with Earth as I had with Trilobite!: Fortey is aiming slightly higher than the average person with an interest in science. In Trilobite! it was a problem, but not as large, and the topic was interesting enough to keep me involved. In Earth, however, the gneisses and cherts and granites and melanges came a little too thick and fast, and I found myself skimming the details an [...]


    24. This book reminded me of Henry James, only in the fact that Fortey has a different, slower kind of rhythm than I'm used to, and it took me awhile to get into the swing of it, to lope along with him instead of getting impatient to rush ahead. Perhaps appropriately for this book about the excruciatingly slow grind of plate tectonics, he takes his time, dwelling on the scene, taking it in unhurriedly, before getting down to the science and the point of each chapter. I find geology strangely fascina [...]


    25. This book is a double edged sword. First off, it is definitely not a history of the earth. I was quite disappointed to find out that this is actually the story of plate tectonics. The author just discusses how plate tectonics have shaped the world in various ways by recounting his travels to various locations around the globe. For the most part, the writing is very nice, even poetic. There are some very long boring paragraphs, but there are also some great inspiring quotes. (My favorite quote wa [...]


    26. Part travelogue, part history of geological thought, part geology explanation. I wonder if he was trying to appeal to the non-geologist and demonstrate how the landscape forms a part of the work of the geologist. I think he was successful, but I often found the florid landscape descriptions distracting. I also didn't learn much that I hadn't learned already on the Discovery Channel, except for the detailed descriptions of different rocks and formations. And yet, somehow I felt by the end of the [...]


    27. I debated on what to give this book because, on the one hand, I enjoyed it enough to read almost all of it, but, on the other hand, I found it repetitive, overly dense, and the chapters were way too long and unfocused. It seemed like if there was a basic way of stating something verses a word that seemed like a good SAT prep word, the author always went with the uncommon word. The book felt like it needed a good editor and some structure, but despite all my complaints I did find myself reading m [...]


    28. This is a thick book about geology, focussing on plate tectonics and covering volcanoes, mountain formation and fault lines. There are some beautiful photos too and useful diagrams. I was also interested to read about the geology of many places I've visited and to read background information to the several recent tv shows on geology. The book is interesting, engaging and very informative, but I felt the author made too many digressions that didn't add to the reader's experience or knowledge. In [...]


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