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The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet | [Robert M. Hazen]

The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet

Earth evolves. From first atom to molecule, mineral to magma, granite crust to single cell to verdant living landscape, ours is a planet constantly in flux. In this radical new approach to Earth’s biography, senior Carnegie Institution researcher and national best-selling author Robert M. Hazen reveals how the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere - of rocks and living matter - has shaped our planet into the only one of its kind in the Solar System, if not the entire cosmos.
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Publisher's Summary

Earth evolves. From first atom to molecule, mineral to magma, granite crust to single cell to verdant living landscape, ours is a planet constantly in flux. In this radical new approach to Earth’s biography, senior Carnegie Institution researcher and national best-selling author Robert M. Hazen reveals how the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere - of rocks and living matter - has shaped our planet into the only one of its kind in the Solar System, if not the entire cosmos.

With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s passion for the ground beneath our feet, Hazen explains how changes on an atomic level translate into dramatic shifts in Earth’s makeup over its 4.567 billion year existence. He calls upon a flurry of recent discoveries to portray our planet’s many iterations in vivid detail - from its fast-rotating infancy when the Sun rose every 5 hours and the Moon filled 250 times more sky than it does now, to its sea-bathed youth, before the first continents arose; from the Great Oxidation Event that turned the land red, to the globe-altering volcanism that may have been the true killer of the dinosaurs. Through Hazen’s theory of “co-evolution,” we learn how reactions between organic molecules and rock crystals may have generated Earth’s first organisms, which in turn are responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties on the planet - thousands of different kinds of crystals that could not exist in a nonliving world.

The Story of Earth is also the story of the pioneering men and women behind the sciences. Listeners will meet black-market meteorite hawkers of the Sahara Desert, the gun-toting Feds who guarded the Apollo missions’ lunar dust, and the World War II Navy officer whose super-pressurized “bomb” - recycled from military hardware - first simulated the molten rock of Earth’s mantle. As a mentor to a new generation of scientists, Hazen introduces the intrepid young explorers whose dispatches from Earth’s harshest landscapes will revolutionize geology.

Celebrated by The New York Times for writing “with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along,” Hazen proves a brilliant and entertaining guide on this grand tour of our planet inside and out. Lucid, controversial, and intellectually bracing, The Story of Earth is popular science of the highest order.

©2012 Robert M. Hazen (P)2012 Gildan Media, LLC

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (426 )
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4.0 (372 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-10-12

    We'll be greeted as liberators.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I give it a 5-5-5 hat trick"

    Walter Dixon, like the pro that he is, gives his A-game here. Hazen's writing is most interesting and compelling, they both really work out well together. Should definitely do another audiobook in the near future IMHO.

    Epic, biblicalish, wide-in-scope, easy, clear and on-target.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. 09-08-12
    Dr. 09-08-12

    kjlacovara

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narrator spoils the book"
    Would you be willing to try another one of Walter Dixon’s performances?

    No. I'm a geologist and Walter Dixon spoils the book for me with his many mispronunciations of geological terms. One would think he would have researched these words in advance. Examples of botched words include: rhythmites (as in tidal rhythmites), peridotite, and plagioclase. There are many more.


    11 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    trinity United States 01-21-14
    trinity United States 01-21-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    1
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    "poor science mainly guesswork"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who likes discussing possibly real events that are impossible to prove that migbt have happened.


    What was most disappointing about Robert M. Hazen’s story?

    This book uses mostly unsure language. There are a lot of possiblies and suggestings and maybies and ifs but no real concrete ideas. No concrete science. Robert didn't discuss any competing theories and how the evidence could point to totally different conclusions. Very incomplete and simplistic work. Most of this book is so insubstantial that it doesn't warrant saying.


    What three words best describe Walter Dixon’s performance?

    Average


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Story of Earth?

    Anything that uses unsure language and is not concrete. His use of words that describe cells learning or getting ideas. That's just dumb.


    Any additional comments?

    So humans evolved over the course of 80 million years? Why is there not life everywhere if its that easy?

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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