The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

by Elizabeth Kolbert

Henry Holt and Co. | February 11, 2014 | Hardcover

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History is rated 4.9 out of 5 by 10.

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 pages, 9.49 × 6.27 × 1.11 in

Published: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0805092994

ISBN - 13: 9780805092998

Found in: Science and Nature

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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

Hardcover | February 11, 2014
In stock online Available in stores
$21.99 online $32.00 (save 31%)

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating read I really appreciated such a thorough, well laid-out examination of the topic, especially in light of today's political atmosphere
Date published: 2015-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this now This is an important book. Beyond climate change, we have a duty to understand what we are doing to the planet. An excellent overview.
Date published: 2015-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good info Well worth reading for anyone interested in science. Well written and holds your interest throughout. Very topical into today's time.
Date published: 2015-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Sixth Extinction 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.
Date published: 2014-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Very informative, well written, easy reading. I loved every page of this book, the content was very interesting and captivating. Really opens your eyes to the past, present, and future effect humans have on the Earth.
Date published: 2014-09-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another Silent Spring Hopefully this book will have an impact similar to Rachel Carson's.
Date published: 2014-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent A must read for anyone who has the slightest bit of interest in our effect on the natural world.
Date published: 2014-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent 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!
Date published: 2014-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Non fiction ? Too bad I wish the fact in this book were untrue, for all of our sakes, but I think not .
Date published: 2014-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A timely warning Very well presented. What she didn't stress was that our lives will change uncomfortably along with the extinctions.
Date published: 2014-02-25

– More About This Product –

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

by Elizabeth Kolbert

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 336 pages, 9.49 × 6.27 × 1.11 in

Published: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0805092994

ISBN - 13: 9780805092998

Read from the Book

PrologueBeginnings, it’s said, are apt to be shadowy. So it is with this story, which starts with the emergence of a new species maybe two hundred thousand years ago. The species does not yet have a name—nothing does—but it has the capacity to name things.As with any young species, this one’s position is precarious. Its numbers are small, and its range restricted to a slice of eastern Africa. Slowly its population grows, but quite possibly then it contracts again—some would claim nearly fatally—to just a few thousand pairs.The members of the species are not particularly swift or strong or fertile. They are, however, singularly resourceful. Gradually they push into regions with different climates, different predators, and different prey. None of the usual constraints of habitat or geography seem to check them. They cross rivers, plateaus, mountain ranges. In coastal regions, they gather shellfish; farther inland, they hunt mammals. Everywhere they settle, they adapt and innovate. On reaching Europe, they encounter creatures very much like themselves, but stockier and probably brawnier, who have been living on the continent far longer. They interbreed with these creatures and then, by one means or another, kill them off.The end of this affair will turn out to be exemplary. As the species expands its range, it crosses paths with animals twice, ten, and even twenty times its size: huge cats, towering bears, turtles as big as elephants, sloths that stand fifteen feet tall. These
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Table of Contents

Author's Note xi?
Prologue 1?
I: The Sixth Extinction 4?
II: The Mastodon's Molars 23?
III: The Original Penguin 47 ?
IV: The Luck of the Ammonites 70?
V: Welcome to the Anthropocene 92?
VI: The Sea Around Us 111?
VII: Dropping Acid 125?
VIII: The Forest and the Trees 148?
IX: Islands on Dry Land 173?
X: The New Pangaea 193?
XI: The Rhino Gets an Ultrasound 217?
XII: The Madness Gene 236?
XIII: The Thing with Feathers 259??

Acknowledgments 273?
Notes 277?
Selected Bibliography 293?
Photo/Illustration Credits 305?
Index 307

From the Publisher

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST

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.

About the Author

Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and children.

Editorial Reviews

[The Sixth Extinction] is a wonderful book, and it makes very clear that big, abrupt changes can happen; they're not outside the realm of possibility. They have happened before, they can happen again. -President Barack Obama"Fascinating." -USA Today"[An] excellent new book...The Sixth Extinction is the kind of book that helps us recognize the actual planet we live upon." -New York Review of Books"Surprisingly breezy, entirely engrossing, and frequently entertaining... Kolbert is a masterful, thought-provoking reporter." -The Boston Globe"Thorough and fascinating . . . Kolbert is an economical and deft explainer of the technical, and about as intrepid a reporter as they come . . . Her reporting is meticulous." -Harper's"Riveting... It is not possible to overstate the importance of Kolbert's book. Her prose is lucid, accessible and even entertaining as she reveals the dark theater playing out on our globe." -San Francisco Chronicle"A fascinating and frightening excursion... Kolbert presents powerful cases to bring her point home." -The Washington Post"Your view of the world will be fundamentally changed... Kolbert is an astute observer, excellent explainer and superb synthesizer, and even manages to find humor in her subject matter." -The Seattle Times"What's exceptional about Kolbert's writing is the combination of scientific rigor and wry humor that keeps you turning the pages." -National Geographic"Beautifully written. An excellent book." -Jon Stewart, The Daily Show"[Kolbe
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