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The Story of Earth

The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

Robert M. Hazen - Author

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ISBN 9780143123644 | 320 pages | 30 Jul 2013 | Penguin | 8.26 x 5.23in | 18 - AND UP
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Hailed by The New York Times for writing “with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along,” nationally bestselling author Robert M. Hazen offers a radical new approach to Earth history in this intertwined tale of the planet’s living and nonliving spheres. With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s eye, Hazen calls upon twenty-first-century discoveries that have revolutionized geology and enabled scientists to envision Earth’s many iterations in vivid detail—from the mile-high lava tides of its infancy to the early organisms responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties beneath our feet. Lucid, controversial, and on the cutting edge of its field, The Story of Earth is popular science of the highest order.



Introduction

1 Birth The Formation of Earth

2 The Big Thwack The Formation of the Moon

3 Black Earth The First Basalt Crust

4 Blue Earth The Formation of the Oceans

5 Gray Earth The First Granite Crust

6 Living Earth The Origins of Life

7 Red Earth Photosynthesis and the Great Oxidation Event

8 The “Boring” Billion The Mineral Revolution

9 White Earth The Snowball-Hothouse Cycle

10 Green Earth The Rise of the Terrestrial Biosphere

11 The Future Scenarios of a Changing Planet

Epilogue


Acknowledgments

Index


“I’m not competent to assess the accuracy of Robert Hazen’s thesis about geological and biological history, but I am competent to judge it a fascinating story, far more alive than you might guess if all you knew was the subject was old dead (?!) rocks.”
Bill McKibben, bestselling author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet



“Hazen takes us on one of the grandest tours of them all—the 4.5 billion year history of our planet. From the atoms of the crust of the Earth come our bodies, the entire living world, and this exciting book. Read Hazen and you will not see Earth and life in the same way again.” —Neil Shubin, paleontologist and bestselling author of Your Inner Fish



“A fascinating new theory on the Earth’s origins written in a sparkling style with many personal touches . . . Hazen offers startling evidence that ‘Earth’s living and nonliving spheres’ have co-evolved over the past four billion years.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)



“Hazen illuminates the origins of Earth and the origins of life [in] a thoroughly accessible book, mixing a variety of scientific disciplines to tell an unforgettable story.”
Publishers Weekly



"The Story of Earth is that rare book that can transform the way you see the world. By synthesizing a vast span of time and knowledge into crisp, delightful prose, Hazen really does make our planet into a story, and a compelling one. I was left with a new sense of context for our place in this galactic home.”
Charles Wohlforth, author of The Fate of Nature and The Whale and the Supercomputer



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