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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History | [Elizabeth Kolbert]

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

A major audiobook 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.
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Publisher's Summary

A major audiobook 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.

©2013 Elizabeth Kolbert (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

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  •  
    Regina Seattle, WA, United States 98109 04-28-14
    Regina Seattle, WA, United States 98109 04-28-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Lifts you out of the ordinary"

    I tend not to listen to serious or difficult books, because those I want to hold in my hands and underline the key points to help me absorb them. This is certainly a serious book, but Elizabeth Kolbert is such a clean, clear writer her story flows as easily as it engages.

    It's not a doom and gloom book either, at least not entirely, although doom is certainly in the works for many, many species, thanks to our stewardship of our shared planet. What can we do? Answering that question is not Kolbert's task. What she does is lay out in rich and compelling detail the story of what happened across millions of years on earth and what is happening now to animals on earth with us.

    Some books I like disappear from mind fairly quickly. This one is staying with me. Highly recommended. Good narrator. She's low key, which is just right. Emotional would make listening impossible.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Male Perspective 02-24-14 Member Since 2012

    I'm a son, brother, husband and father. I design software and consider myself a free-thinker.

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    "Better than expected! Great Book!"
    Any additional comments?

    I found out about this book from a public radio station interview with the author. The concept sounded interesting but was unsure from the interview what to expect. This book was superb from start to finish, it was well laid out and extremely interesting to listen to. I was expecting another typical presentation of the global warming and the gloom and doom that usually goes with it. I have always believed that global warming was over hyped as a human cause and more of a just a cycle of the earth and the solar system going through its cycles. This book is more about the disruption that humans cause in the natural cycle of the earth eco systems and how those changes effect the possible future of the earth and it inhabitance. The author takes you on trip around the world to different place and provides evidence to support the title of her book. I think what made this book so good for me was that it written like a story being told by this person that took a journey and came back to share what they experience. There were not a bunch of scientific terms to wade through or uncommon words that authors sometimes used to make themselves seem more intelligent. This author get's her message across and when you finished you go...WOW! I also enjoyed the narrator as well, her voice was very pleasant and allowed you to enjoy the story!

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ged2phd 03-21-14
    ged2phd 03-21-14 Member Since 2013

    ged2phd

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    "Be annoyed at what she says, not how she says it"

    I'm just commenting on the narration here, because it seems the consensus is that this is a great book and I agree. All aspects of it . Some listeners seem to have let the narrator's delivery ruin their experience with this title though. She's soft-spoken, and maybe from the influence of other listeners' reviews, I was thinking at first that I didn't like it either, that the effect was more suited to a storybook. But I kept listening, and after a while I realized it was fine. Really, just let it go, let the woman speak. She enunciates clearly and on an even keel, and I ended up appreciating everything about the book (well, considering the subject matter, almost everything). I just finished a book where the narrator kept saying "climactic" when they meant "climatic," and vice versa. Now *that* was annoying. If you make up your mind her delivery is going to bother you, then it will, but it doesn't have to. Try to just enjoy this book and I think you will.

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SJS 12-09-14
    SJS 12-09-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent book, narrator is a problem"

    Other reviewers complained about the narrator, but I thought, it'll be fine. But upon finishing the book, I didn't love it and when I contemplated why, the answer was the narrator. The book itself is very fascinating and skillfully told. It contains a lot of very current scientific research. I have a few questions that I'd like to pose, things that were kind of left without being explored fully. Still, overall a very worthwhile and engaging book. But listening to it is kind of a drag.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danielle 03-26-14
    Danielle 03-26-14
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    "Everyone should read this book!!!"
    What did you love best about The Sixth Extinction?

    This book is very enlightening.

    In "The Sixth Extinction" Kolbert quotes the ecologist Paul Ehrlich: "In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches."

    Kolbert explores this quotation by taking you on a journey around the world; discovering different ecosystems and showing the impact humans have on the biodiversity of the planet and the evolution of our fellow species.




    What about Anne Twomey’s performance did you like?

    I enjoyed the performance of Anne Twomey. I have no complaints.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This was a book I wanted to listen to in one sitting. The information collected by the author is very eye-opening so I wanted to listen on....


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Riccardo Manzotti 06-04-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Timely, enthralling, captivating, informative"
    Where does The Sixth Extinction rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best. The best 5%


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is well written, deeply informative, urgent as a topic, pleasurable and complete


    Which character – as performed by Anne Twomey – was your favorite?

    It's an essay, not a novel


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Many examples are able to catch the gist of what is happening right now tot he world ecosystem.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    shackga 04-26-15
    shackga 04-26-15
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    "Very enlightening and challenging"
    Where does The Sixth Extinction rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high--it provided extra perspective to a concern that I already had


    What about Anne Twomey’s performance did you like?

    Very well done


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Man's disregard for the environment and population integrity


    Any additional comments?

    I wish everyone would read this book and take it to heart. Man's destructive power over our planet is incredible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew 05-01-14
    matthew 05-01-14 Member Since 2014

    I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile

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    "Man is the most dangerous animal"

    We are introduced to a number of species and what led to their demise. It seems mostly big and slow to reproduce animals are doomed in man's world. We shot the great Auk, killed off the elephant from its once great number of 10 million to its now endangered level of 500 k and even things like the ocean have been altered by coral bleaching and ocean warming trends. I thought it was interesting that corals not only reproduce but also form shelters for smaller creatures. Man destroys the earth and sometimes even kills one another. This book and several others have convinced me that science is not always good for the earth. It is only good for man. The book is basically divided into chapters based on various extinct species and sums things up by helping us realize that we too may become extinct one day if we aren't good stewards to the animals, environment and one another. The reader was well paced and clear.I also liked The Ragged Edge of The World and anything written by Jared Diamond seems to also raise and awareness of how irresponsible we are being towards the world we live in.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Traveling Munni 04-17-14 Member Since 2014

    culture creature

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    "Brilliant Book"

    I heard about this book one morning while watching the news and was super excited to see that it was offered on Audible because it covers something I wanted to learn more about. I found myself excited to learn about the history of how we classify extinction and how animals adapted to try and prevent it, and at the same time extremely sad to hear about how it was happening in modern day times. I feel more on top of the news coming out actually because of this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Milton Big Elk Nuevo Mexico, EUA 03-24-14
    Milton Big Elk Nuevo Mexico, EUA 03-24-14 Member Since 2004
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    "Anne Twomey does a great job"
    What made the experience of listening to The Sixth Extinction the most enjoyable?

    Elizabeth Kolbert moves us skillfully through key points of the impermanence of life forms on earth. Twomey drives Kolbert"s journalistic acumen home.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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