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A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Book Reviews

The Sixth Extinction
Average rating
4.5 / 5
Fascinating read
August 9th, 2015
I really appreciated such a thorough, well laid-out examination of the topic, especially in light of today's political atmosphere
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1 review
Read this now
May 25th, 2015
This is an important book. Beyond climate change, we have a duty to understand what we are doing to the planet. An excellent overview.
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1 review
Good info
May 7th, 2015
Well worth reading for anyone interested in science. Well written and holds your interest throughout. Very topical into today's time.
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1 review
The Sixth Extinction
November 9th, 2014
Clearly points out the impact we, as a species, are having on the planet and the other species we shar it with Not entirely without hope.
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1 review
Another Silent Spring
August 2nd, 2014
Hopefully this book will have an impact similar to Rachel Carson's.
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1 review
July 6th, 2014
A must read for anyone who has the slightest bit of interest in our effect on the natural world.
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2 reviews
2 of 2 people found this helpful
July 5th, 2014
This was a bit of an impulse buy on my part, but it tuned out to be an excellent impulse as it was one of the better reads of this year for me! Both a fascinating and somewhat alarming read that clearly and uncomfortably points out that the biggest obstacle to continued biodiversity is simply our presence, now all 7 billion of us!
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2 reviews
Non fiction ? Too bad
April 16th, 2014
I wish the fact in this book were untrue, for all of our sakes, but I think not .
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1 review
A timely warning
February 25th, 2014
Very well presented. What she didn't stress was that our lives will change uncomfortably along with the extinctions.
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1 review

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