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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Towards the end of author Kolbert¿s new book, The Sixth Extincti

Towards the end of author Kolbert’s new book, The Sixth Extinction, she mentions that in life, as in mutual funds, past performance carries no guarantees. What I can guarantee readers who appreciate our planet’s diversity and our own species insufferable arrogance, is a...
Towards the end of author Kolbert’s new book, The Sixth Extinction, she mentions that in life, as in mutual funds, past performance carries no guarantees. What I can guarantee readers who appreciate our planet’s diversity and our own species insufferable arrogance, is a thought-provoking, deeply moving reading experience. This is my first exposure to Ms. Kolbert’s prose and to say I am now a fan doesn’t tell the half of it.

First, the organization of this project and the resulting book makes it accessible even to those who might scoff at the ideas it contains. She travels around the globe, reporting first-hand on examples of past extinctions, their causes and on lives currently stressed to the point of disappearance. Having seen examples of this in my own back-yard over the past ten years or so, I found the subject particularly interesting. I also was carried along on a crest through her method of tackling a difficult subject with good humor while illustrating her point in such a way that the heavy sadness that similar work often provides, was made tolerable.

Finishing the book on a slightly hopeful note helped a great deal without effacing the stark, terrible truths she has so lovingly presented. I felt moved to do what I can, from this point, to help reduce my own careless damage to other lives in our fragile biosphere. I would expect that there will be many who will feel this way after reading this important book. Science readers will also appreciate her meticulous footnotes and references to the research she followed through her writing. I’m sure that many of these projects could use additional funding help and would encourage all readers to share what they can to enlarge the spirit and effectiveness of this on-going work.

posted by RichardSutton on March 5, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Morgansmith123455@yahoo.com

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posted by Anonymous on February 23, 2014

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  • Posted March 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Towards the end of author Kolbert¿s new book, The Sixth Extincti

    Towards the end of author Kolbert’s new book, The Sixth Extinction, she mentions that in life, as in mutual funds, past performance carries no guarantees. What I can guarantee readers who appreciate our planet’s diversity and our own species insufferable arrogance, is a thought-provoking, deeply moving reading experience. This is my first exposure to Ms. Kolbert’s prose and to say I am now a fan doesn’t tell the half of it.

    First, the organization of this project and the resulting book makes it accessible even to those who might scoff at the ideas it contains. She travels around the globe, reporting first-hand on examples of past extinctions, their causes and on lives currently stressed to the point of disappearance. Having seen examples of this in my own back-yard over the past ten years or so, I found the subject particularly interesting. I also was carried along on a crest through her method of tackling a difficult subject with good humor while illustrating her point in such a way that the heavy sadness that similar work often provides, was made tolerable.

    Finishing the book on a slightly hopeful note helped a great deal without effacing the stark, terrible truths she has so lovingly presented. I felt moved to do what I can, from this point, to help reduce my own careless damage to other lives in our fragile biosphere. I would expect that there will be many who will feel this way after reading this important book. Science readers will also appreciate her meticulous footnotes and references to the research she followed through her writing. I’m sure that many of these projects could use additional funding help and would encourage all readers to share what they can to enlarge the spirit and effectiveness of this on-going work.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    I've been loving Kolbert's New Yorker articles for years, but in

    I've been loving Kolbert's New Yorker articles for years, but in The Sixth Extinction she's outdone herself. The research, the many examples, and the prose make for a compelling read. She writes not just of "climate change", but of the irreversible effect our species has had on the planet as we evolved.
    This is a story that needs to be understood if we as a species are to have a future on this planet. We can't undo what has gone before, but can we behave better? Will we?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Very often we hear of species extinctions; an extinction here, a

    Very often we hear of species extinctions; an extinction here, an extinction there.  So often, in fact, it is taken for the sad, but normal course of things – What a shame, oh my, should I be a “save the Elephant”, “save the Tiger” or “save the Whales” person.   In this book Kolbert informs of extinctions not here, not there, but everywhere, in this, our Anthropocene epoch.  She gathers the puzzle pieces from exclusively scientific data and creates a panoramic and cohesive picture of the future of the Earth’s biodiversity.
    The Sixth Extinction should be required reading for everyone.  It should be handed out with the plastic bags at Walmart.  You don’t need a dictionary to read it, it’s not necessary to be a scientist to understand and appreciate the truth of the matter.  It makes for fascinating reading.  I could build an entire year’s Ecology curriculum on Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction, and I wish I was in the classroom again so I could do so.
    In the last chapter Kolbert quotes Stanford ecologist Paul Ehrilich:  IN PUSHING OTHER SPECIES TO EXTINCTION, HUMANITY IS BUSY SAWING OFF THE LIMB ON WHICH IT PERCHES.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2015

    Recommended - informative and entertaining

    Written in an engaging style as the author travels many locations around the world interviewing experts in various fields of study. Presents current theories regarding the five previous mass extinctions. Then offers examples of the rapid changes in our current environment and the important role humans play in the evolutionary changes to come.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2015

    Informative

    A real eye opener

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2014

    This is a very important book which should be read by everyone.

    This is a very important book which should be read by everyone. It is well-researched and well-written, easy to read. I  gave it to my adult daughters for Christmas and I hope they,  their spouses, and their children will read it. I  worry about what kind of life my descendants will have, if the human race doesn't  soon acknowledge that the planet is in trouble and we humans are largely to blame.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2014

    Very interesting, thought provoking book

    The author presents information from several areas of looking at the world and opens one's eyes to possibilities in the natural world. She does not tie the information into a neat little bow and tell the reader what to think. She presents information in an intelligent manner and let's the reader ponder because there are no easy answers. Very enjoyable read. It expanded my mental horizons. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in science, geology, and humanity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2014

    Kolbert¿s examination of life as we know it (and as it might soo

    Kolbert’s examination of life as we know it (and as it might soon be) hooks the reader from its first sentences as she describes the shadowy introduction of, two hundred thousand years ago, a new species.  Through its resourcefulness, this species manages to flourish, and eventually touch all corners of the globe, events that lead us to where we find ourselves today, living on a planet forever impacted by that species, man.  
    Kolbert’s ability to clarify scientific complexities for those of us unfamiliar with that realm is a gift she utilizes throughout the 13 powerful chapters that each address a species, some which no longer exist, some which may soon die out or become extinct.   The Sixth Extinction is filled with intrigue, mystery, and explanations of why our planet—and the creatures who depend upon it—is experiencing the throes it presently is.  Like an exceptional college professor, Kolbert brings to life events of epochs long past, and helps the reader integrate facts and theories to understand the journey our world has experienced.   Kolbert hopes that readers will “come away with an appreciation of the truly extraordinary moment in which we live;” I can’t imagine the reader who wouldn’t.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014

    Also check out Our Mathematical Universe and Hector's Juice!

    Also check out Our Mathematical Universe and Hector's Juice!

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2015

    I greatly enjoyed Elizabeth Kolbert¿s , The Sixth Extinction. I

    I greatly enjoyed Elizabeth Kolbert’s , The Sixth Extinction. I enjoyed reading about the facts, events, and people she profiled in her book. Her writing style kept me interested in every word. She has lead me think that currently were are in the process of a sixth mass extinction. And not just one for which we seem to be responsible, but one that we may not survive.
    Ms. Kolbert begins by surveying the five historic mass-extinctions we know of, and the scientists who led us to our knowledge of those events.
    Ms. Kolbert starts her discussions of historic events with discussions of facts discovered by a variety of modern scientists in fields of study ranging from fossils to frogs, rainforest plants, bats, and ocean acidity. They all seem to have reached the conclusion from evidence in their fields that our world is undergoing a sixth mass-extinction event, one either entirely caused by humans.

    Though Ms. Kolbert establishes that mass-extinctions, even abrupt ones, have long been a part of our world, and that there is even fairly convincing evidence that humans have caused prior mass-extinctions on earth. She also establishes that there is no guarantee that we will survive this one. Ms. Kolbert and the scientists she profiles believe that we are changing our world, its ecosystems, and its species at a very quick rate. And since we still don’t understand all the ways in which we depend on the world’s plants and animals, we don’t know how the loss of any one ecosystem or any one species will ultimately impact us.But this book isn't all darkand depressing. She gives us hope by saying that this sixth mass-extinction is also unique in that we are finally advanced enough to realize what we are doing before it is too late. And she points out that we may still have the ability to stop, or at least limit, what we may unknowingly have started. Though it’s already too late for some species, it doesn’t have to be too late for us. But that requires more people learning about what is going on and deciding to do their share in help. I highly recommend Ms. Kolbert’s eye-opening and entertaining book as a good place to start.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2014

    It will haopen

    This extintion will happen

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    A

    Bring back the tiger salamander-or at least plant some on your neighbors property when they want to develop.it.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Great Book

    LOVED IT!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Ponies Extiction prolouge

    Monsters have taken over the earth. Or as you should call it an apocalypse. We'ce been fighting back for years. Nothing enertaining to do. Besides chopping zombies head off. 4 Years ago...2010 7/14/10 5:15 pm... "Come on Nitro for Duke your the freshman." *I swished my shot* And we won. When I got back it was issued as a level 4 virus. And month after month year after year (4 years) it got stronger. I was forced to stay hidden in buildings.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2014

    Best.

    One of my favorite books. Loved how it was written.

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  • Posted May 23, 2014

    Great Book

    We all need to have more knowledge of this subject

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2014

    Highly recommended

    Well researched and well written.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2015

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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