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Publisher's Summary

Americans have been warned since the late 1970s that the buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere threatens to melt the polar ice sheets and irreversibly change our climate. With little done since then to alter this dangerous path, the world has reached a critical threshold. By the end of the century, it will likely be hotter than at any point in the last two million years, and the sweeping consequences of this change will determine the future of life on earth for generations to come.

Taking listeners from the melting Alaskan permafrost to storm-torn New Orleans, acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Kolbert approaches this monumental problem from every angle. She interviews researchers and environmentalists, explains the science, draws frightening parallels to lost civilizations, and presents the moving tales of people who are watching their worlds disappear. Growing out of an award-winning three-part series for The New Yorker, Field Notes from a Catastrophe brings the environment into the consciousness of the American people and asks what, if anything, can be done to save our planet.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe is our Editors' Pick for Nonfiction. Find out what else made Audible's Best of 2006 list.
Download the accompanying reference guide.
©2006 Elizabeth Kolbert. All rights reserved; (P)2006 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Powerful, clear, and important." (Scientific American)
"Kolbert's calmly persuasive reporting stands out for its sobering clarity....Kolbert lets facts rather than polemics tell the story....This unbiased overview is a model for writing about an urgent environmental crisis." (Publishers Weekly)
"Illuminating and sobering....Includes fascinating accounts of how climate changes affected the planet in the past, and how such changes are occurring in different parts of the world right now." (The New York Review of Books)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Very well done!

I came to the subject of Global Warming with only a vague concern, and very little bias. Sure, my wife and I each drive a Prius and we recycle, but before reading this book I wasn't really <b><i>worried</i></b>. Now, I'm keeping watch for ways to be part of the solution.

The book is well written with an easy style. The author weaves scientific elements into the story of human life, making the listen both interesting and informative. While I found the middle of the book to drag a bit, the last chapters more than made up for any necessary foundation laid therein.

Thank you, Elizabeth Kolbert, for your clear and scientific explanation of the facts that fuel the fears of global warming. I wish everyone would read this book!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jackie
  • Edwards, CO, USA
  • 04-28-06

One Scary Book

This has to be the scariest book I have ever listened to. In her calm, state the facts way, she step by step teaches how the planet is changing at an unprecedented rate and how the US is lagging far behind in taking action. Riveting book well worth the time to listen to.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 06-23-06

just the facts

Great distillation of what exactly "global warming" is. In only a few hours, the book provides solid info on the past, present and future implications of global warming. Beyond the info, I thought the narrator was one of the best I've ever heard at Audible.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A must read for everyone!

The author knows how to write and to convey information without patronizing the audience - she is about information (draw your own conclusions). The book also does not fall into the statistics trap.

Without hesitation an excellent (albeit frightning) resource on climate change and it's consequences.

Reader is also perfectly suited.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Scary

Listen the book if you really want to know how far are we to a catastrophy. You will be scared. Read with a grave voice, the book presents undenialble proofs that we are close to World's greatest catastrophy.
I also recommend "the Coming Economic Collapse" by Stephen Leeb.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Citizens of Planet Earth, Unite!

I began listening to this book only because I felt I had a responsibility to know the truth, as a human being, as a parent of human beings, and as a care provider for human beings in a medical setting. What I did NOT expect was that I would find it so riveting that I would want to listen to it all in one sitting. This is a clear, concise, lively, user-friendly and eminently readable book. It combines science, history, and social studies in one thoroughly engaging volume that will leave you eager to learn more about what each of us can and must do to promote positive change and avert disaster not just for future generations, but for our children and indeed, for ourselves. The chapters on The Golden Toad, The Curse of Akkad, and Floating Houses alone are worth the price of admission. I downloaded the print version of the updated (2015) edition of the book also, just to see what new conclusions have been reached since Kolbert published the first edition a decade ago.

Special kudos to Hope Davis (one of my favorite actresses and easily one of the top five narrators on Audible) for the superlative narration of this terrifying and yet hopeful modern classic.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • R.S.
  • Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
  • 07-18-11

Concise look at global warming & policy responses

This collection of articles about global warming, those who have been involved in the development of the science, the discoveries of scientists tracing its terrifying trajectory, and US policy in the Bush administration is a model of concision. And it is still, unfortunately, timely. "Field Notes" concludes with hopeful examples of the possibilities of awareness and change.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

listener friendly facts.

Narrator was good.
Story told left a lasting imprint on cc effects.
I now feel I have a better understanding of how cc is observed by multiple disciplines of science.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Probably better as a physical book

Contains a lot of facts but little story. Therefore, it makes kind of a boring audiobook. I'm pretty sure I would like it better if I could see the words on a page rather than listening to it as I commute to work.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

more people should read this

really informative and easy to follow. good narration. opened my eyes even more to some of the politics of climate change.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful