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The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element…
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The Carbon Age: How Life's Core Element Has Become…

by Eric Roston

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The subject matter is fascinating, and Eric Roston has taken on an amazing amount of material and tried to present it in a logical sequence for the lay reader. But I found myself getting lost in some of the details, and the flow of ideas was sometimes patchy. Consequently, I found myself slogging through it, particularly in the beginning. What a shame, because this is a subject that deserves to be better understood by all of us given its primordial importance to life as we know it. ( )
  chapeauchin | Mar 17, 2013 |
Roston's look at the element carbon is reasonably interesting and well-written. The first part especially, however, is a bit of a slog, and the remainder never really catches fire enough to make up for it. ( )
  wanack | Jul 19, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802715575, Hardcover)

The story of carbon—the building block of life that is, ironically, humanity’s great threat .
It could be said that all of us are a little alien—our bodies’ carbon atoms first shot forth from supernovas billions of years ago and far, far away. Carbon has always been the ubiquitous architect and chemical scaffolding of life and civilization; indeed, all living things draw carbon from their environments to stay alive, and the great cycle by which carbon moves through organisms, ground, water, and atmosphere has long been a kind of global respiration system that helps keep Earth in balance. And yet, when we hear the word today, it is more often than not in a crisis context: carbon dioxide emissions have sped up the carbon cycle; chlorofluorocarbons are destroying the ozone layer and warming the planet; the volatile Middle East explodes atop its stores of volatile hydrocarbons; carbohydrates threaten obesity and diabetes.
In The Carbon Age, Eric Roston evokes this essential element, its journey illuminating history from the Big Bang to modern civilization. Charting the science of carbon—how it was formed, how it came to Earth and built up—he chronicles the often surprising ways mankind has used it over centuries, and the growing catastrophe of the industrial era, leading us to now attempt to wrestle the Earth’s geochemical cycle back from the brink. Blending the latest science with original reporting, Roston makes us aware, as never before, of the seminal impact carbon has, and has had, on our lives.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:06 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Carbon is the chemical scaffolding of life and civilization; indeed, the great cycle by which carbon moves through organisms, ground, water, and atmosphere has long been a kind of global respiration system that helps keep Earth in balance. And yet, when we hear the word today, it is more often than not in a crisis context. Journalist Roston evokes this essential element, from the Big Bang to modern civilization. Charting the science of carbon--how it was formed, how it came to Earth--he chronicles the often surprising ways mankind has used it over centuries, and the growing catastrophe of the industrial era, leading our current attempt to wrestle the Earth's geochemical cycle back from the brink. Blending the latest science with original reporting, Roston makes us aware of the seminal impact carbon has, and has had, on our lives.--From publisher description.… (more)

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