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The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses,…
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The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest… (original 2017; edition 2018)

by Peter Brannen (Author)

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3061462,478 (4.22)15
"A vivid tour of Earth's Big Five mass extinctions, the past worlds lost with each, and what they all can tell us about our not-too-distant future. Was it really an asteroid that killed the dinosaurs? Or carbon dioxide-driven climate change? In fact, scientists now suspect that climate change played a major role not only in the end of the age of dinosaurs, but also in each of the five most deadly mass extinctions in the history of the planet. Struck by the implications of this for our own future, Peter Brannen, along with some of the world's leading paleontologists, dives into deep time, exploring each of Earth's five dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of what's to come. Using the visible clues these extinctions have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside the 'scenes of the crime,' from South Africa's Karoo Desert to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record--which is rife with fantastic creatures like dragonflies the size of seagulls and guillotine-mouthed fish--and introduces us to the researchers on the frontlines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the sites of Earth's past devastations. As our civilization continues to test the wherewithal of our climate, we need to figure out where the hard limits are before it's too late. Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave, allowing us to better understand our future by shining a light on our past."--Jacket.… (more)
Member:krv64
Title:The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
Authors:Peter Brannen (Author)
Info:Ecco (2018), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions by Peter Brannen (2017)

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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
For what this book is, it is good.

So what is it? An accessible rundown of the events of the five great extinction events of the Earth's past. Good for newcomers, decent for an update if it's been a few decades beyond your previous encounter with possible extinction causes... (remember the debates surrounding the Cambrian?)... and entertaining enough if what you mean by entertainment is the cognition of our eventual death as a species. :)

Okay, granted, a lot of the material is slightly glossed-over in favor of narrative brevity and facts and causes are somewhat light... but the book knows its audience... and it's audience isn't glamorous or snazzed up with buzz-words... or is it? Oh... wait... "emergent" comes up a bit.

Ah, well, no book is perfect.

Makes me kinda want to re-read Bill Bryson's [b:A Short History of Nearly Everything|21|A Short History of Nearly Everything|Bill Bryson|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1433086293s/21.jpg|2305997] or Kolbert's [b:The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History|17910054|The Sixth Extinction An Unnatural History|Elizabeth Kolbert|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1372677697s/17910054.jpg|25095506] if you want to get REALLY scared.

But, again, for what it is, Brannon's book does a decent readable job. I just kinda wish I had more descriptions of the life that is now long gone. *sigh* ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
The first non-fiction book that has ever scared me.

The author does an amazing job of painting the past mass extinctions in a way that makes them seem real. The way he compares them to things happening today shines a bright light on climate change, and shows why we need to make drastic changes to how we do things.

Definitely worth reading. ( )
  tebyen | May 27, 2020 |
The word 'extinction' elicits imagery of dinosaurs being obliterated by meteorites, but many don't realize that the event 65 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs was only one in a series of major extinctions that each exterminated staggering percentages of life on earth. Science journalist Peter Brannen in this book describes each lethal event in turn, including its causes and outcomes. An interesting read for any fan of prehistory. ( )
  ryner | Apr 17, 2020 |
Peter Brannen explores the 5 great extinction events, and in the process offers the reader a glimpse of our future. Everything from striking meteors, supervolcanoes, anoxic oceans, ice-ages, heat-waves, plate tectonics, supercontinents, too many trees, and the role of carbon dioxide are discussed. This is ultimately a climate change book, with the author continually bashing the reader over the head with how destructive humans are. The author manages to discuss the science aspects of the 5 great extinction events in a reasonably decent manner considering that this is a popular science book and doesn’t include many technical details. However, the exaggerated “evil humans / climate change” diatribe inserted approximately every 4th paragraph is annoying and detracts from the extinction story of the earth. He could have included those sections in a separate chapter or even at the end of each chapter if he felt that strongly about the matter. In addition, when the author does include numbers, he often doesn’t tell us where he comes up with them and I find his maths a bit off. The book includes photographs but it could have done with a geological timeline. This isn’t a bad book; it is certainly interesting and reads like a mystery novel if you ignore the anthropogenic global warming hysterics. I found this book to be an interesting and useful summary of the possible causes of the 5 great extinctions that this planet has experienced.

NOTE: The footnotes of the e-book don’t link up to the notes section.

OTHER RECOMMENDED BOOKS:

-The Goldilocks Planet: The 4 Billion Year Story of Earth’s Climate by Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams
-The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth’s History by David Beerling
-When Life nearly Died by Michael J Benton
-The Worst of Times by Paul B. Wignall
-Under a Green Sky by Peter D. Ward
-Oxygen: The Molecule that Made the World by Nick Lane
-Extinction by Douglas H. Erwin
( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
If I were to describe this book in a word it would be "chastening," as the author does a fine job of linking our current environmental mega-crisis involving the excessive burning of fossil fuels with past mass extinctions, most of which involved carbon dioxide driven environmental disruption on a massive scale. This is a very personal book in which Brannen makes no bones of linking his sour outlook on the worth of humanity as being too stupid to live with the recent demise of his mother (I can so relate), and that personal anger contributes to the value of this piece of journalism as an exercise in witness. ( )
  Shrike58 | Oct 16, 2019 |
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"A vivid tour of Earth's Big Five mass extinctions, the past worlds lost with each, and what they all can tell us about our not-too-distant future. Was it really an asteroid that killed the dinosaurs? Or carbon dioxide-driven climate change? In fact, scientists now suspect that climate change played a major role not only in the end of the age of dinosaurs, but also in each of the five most deadly mass extinctions in the history of the planet. Struck by the implications of this for our own future, Peter Brannen, along with some of the world's leading paleontologists, dives into deep time, exploring each of Earth's five dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of what's to come. Using the visible clues these extinctions have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside the 'scenes of the crime,' from South Africa's Karoo Desert to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record--which is rife with fantastic creatures like dragonflies the size of seagulls and guillotine-mouthed fish--and introduces us to the researchers on the frontlines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the sites of Earth's past devastations. As our civilization continues to test the wherewithal of our climate, we need to figure out where the hard limits are before it's too late. Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave, allowing us to better understand our future by shining a light on our past."--Jacket.

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As new groundbreaking research suggests that climate change played a major role in the most extreme catastrophes in the planet's history, award-winning science journalist Peter Brannen takes us on a wild ride through the planet's five mass extinctions and, in the process, offers us a glimpse of our increasingly dangerous future

Our world has ended five times: it has been broiled, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered, and pelted by asteroids. In The Ends of the World, Peter Brannen dives into deep time, exploring Earth’s past dead ends, and in the process, offers us a glimpse of our possible future.

Many scientists now believe that the climate shifts of the twenty-first century have analogs in these five extinctions. Using the visible clues these devastations have left behind in the fossil record, The Ends of the World takes us inside “scenes of the crime,” from South Africa to the New York Palisades, to tell the story of each extinction. Brannen examines the fossil record—which is rife with creatures like dragonflies the size of sea gulls and guillotine-mouthed fish—and introduces us to the researchers on the front lines who, using the forensic tools of modern science, are piecing together what really happened at the crime scenes of the Earth’s biggest whodunits.

Part road trip, part history, and part cautionary tale, The Ends of the World takes us on a tour of the ways that our planet has clawed itself back from the grave, and casts our future in a completely new light.
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