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Natural Science and the Planet Earth

Narrated by: Edwin Newman
Length: 2 hrs and 57 mins
4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Alexander Von Humboldt and others sparked a centuries-long debate about natural history and geological destiny by discussing what today we call the environment. Some now believe the earth cannot safely accommodate its growing burdens; others say longer life spans and more people are signs of progress. Are humans destroying the earth, or building a better world? Will the future bring despair and destruction, or hope and improvement?

The Science and Discovery series recreates history's 4,000-year journey to better understand the world through scientific means. It is a story of vested interests and independent thinkers, experiments and theories, change and progress.

Don't miss the rest of the Science and Discovery series.
©1993 Carmichael and Carmichael, Inc. and Knowledge Products (P)1993 Carmichael and Carmichael, Inc. and Knowledge Products

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  • Patrick
  • 02-17-19

Patrick Lynch

This is a very odd book. More than the first half is devoted to an hagiography of the German scientist and polymath Von Humboldt almost totally disconnected to the supposed theme of the work. By its end you know about his friendship with President Jefferson his explorations in South America and Dolly Madison’s opinion of his social graces but his scientific works only mentioned in passing with little explanation as to their contemporary importance or connection to the book’s title m. When Humboldt, age 90, passes away there is, a dissertation on Henry Church, American landscape artist influenced by Humboldt. The remainder of the book, apart from some forced references, is Humboldt free, and there is a pleasant ramble through earth sciences - tectonic theory, earths resources and their accessibility and scientific methodology with a number of thought provoking observations.
The production values of the book are high it is pleasantly read with the multiple quotes being read by actors with faux accents. Humboldt sounds like Henry Kissinger with a sinus problem, Jefferson like FDR and Jacob Bronowski exactly not like the actual Bronowski.
This book has its points of interest but seems more to be a vehicle for the authors pet ideas, largely to promote the reputation of, the largely overlooked, Humboldt and I could not recommend it.