• Earth

  • An Intimate History
  • By: Richard Fortey
  • Narrated by: Michael Page
  • Length: 18 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (39 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In Earth, the acclaimed author of Trilobite! and Life takes us on a grand tour of the earth's physical past, showing how the history of plate tectonics is etched in the landscape around us.

Beginning with Mt. Vesuvius, whose eruption in Roman times helped spark the science of geology, and ending in a lab in the West of England where mathematical models and lab experiments replace direct observation, Richard Fortey tells us what the present says about ancient geologic processes. He shows how plate tectonics came to rule the geophysical landscape and how the evidence is written in the hills and in the stones. And in the process, he takes us on a wonderful journey around the globe to visit some of the most fascinating and intriguing spots on the planet.

©2004 Richard Fortey (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Earth

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Captivating and interesting - excellent all around

I loved the way Richard Fortey writes. A ton of information is craved into this book. Very well-written. Author and reader do a fantastic job making the content captivating and woven together in way that brings you full circle. Highly recommend for geology and science fans.

4 people found this helpful

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Bloated, overwrought, and tiresome.

What a disappointment this book turned out to be.

It's clear that the author understands the subject matter intimately, but the book itself suffers from excessive rambling and overwrought prose that mostly amounts to distracting filler.

At one point, the author, in an effort to indicate the degree to which it is isolated from outsiders, describes a private island in Hawai'i as being "beyond the dominion of Colonel Sanders." This sort of wordy, meandering nonsense is typical. For every actual piece of information revealed here, there is at least one tiresome anecdote or unrelated observation the reader must get through before it is revealed.

While this book is (explicitly) intended for non-experts, it's clear the author has never actually met or spoken to such a person, as he tends to both over- and under-estimate their intelligence. For every dopey pop culture reference (i.e. "Colonel Sanders"), there are an equal and opposite number of technical terms ("gneiss," for example) that the author just drops into the text with zero explanation of their relevance or meaning.

If you're looking for a clear, concise, popular science book about the geologic history of the earth, you'd be advised to avoid this one.

2 people found this helpful

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Random Geology Verbose History Jumbled Tours

Unfocused prose regarding a random tour of some geology material, local history, because the author had been there. Tedium and verbosity- not my cup of tea!

1 person found this helpful

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Terrible narration. Totally stuffy.

I like geology. This is a technical book with new terms and concepts that are covered in a way that uses poor comparisons. Forte, who is a pioneer in geology and Earth science introduces geologic concepts and land formations continuously throughout this book but when attempting to explain these concepts by means of comparison uses trite examples that are dated and generally more complicated then just spending a moment describing what the reader is supposed to see.

The narrator is wonderful if the listener is expecting a Shakespearean or Chaucer sonnet but is totally stuffy and challenging to understand when talking about geology.

The Royal Geological Society is problematic in love with this performance because it creates a nuanced distance due to the accent of the narrator. But books should be inviting and Invigorating. The book should be challenging the narration shouldn’t be even more.

As a consequence, this is terrible and I am upset that I invested the time, emery and money.

1 person found this helpful

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Not a book about geology.

I’ve never experienced such a pretentious piece of garbage. This book spends half or more of its running time wandering off topic as the author tries to act a historian. Do the recreational habits of Roman emperors have any relevance to geology? No. This book is a complete waste of time and money

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very interesting and well read

this audiobook was very well put together a lot of information well-organized and very well-read