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The Sixth Extinction An Unnatural History,9781250062185

The Sixth Extinction An Unnatural History

by
Edition: Reprint
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 1/6/2015
Publisher(s): Picador

Summary

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-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 prose that is at once frank, entertaining, and deeply informed, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert tells us why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept, Kolbert provides a moving and comprehensive account of the disappearances occurring before our very eyes. She shows that the sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy, compelling us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Author Biography

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.

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

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