Language of the Earth: A Literary Anthology / Edition 2

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Man's complex relationship to planet Earth is explored in this second edition of the landmark anthology edited by Frank Rhodes and Bruce Malamud. This volume provides a portrait of the planet as experienced not just by scientists, but by artists, aviators, poets, philosophers, novelists, historians, and sociologists as well.

  • A unique collection that bridges the gap between science and humanities
  • Contains writings by scientists, artists, aviators, poets, philosophers, novelists, historians, and sociologists including Charles Darwin, Dane Picard, Rachel Carson, John Muir, Mark Twain and Archibald Geikie
  • Represents the human experience over the centuries, covering a span of 2,500 years
  • Reflects the planet's extraordinary physical diversity
  • The previous edition was voted one of the 25 'Great Books of Geology' by readers of the Journal of Geological Education

"...this is a very worthwhile read, with something for everyone interested in geography, earth systems and geology, natural history or the general environment."
Robert A. Francis, King's College London, Progress in Physical Geography

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The book perfectly illustrates the beauty, the enigmatic complexity and the insidiously violent character of the Earth.” (The Holocene, May 2009)

“Anyone interested in planet Earth, whether in its rocks and soil, or the animals and plants which inhabit it, or in the people who have in the past tried to explore, describe, and explain it, will find something of interest here. Recommended.” (Choice, November 2008)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405160674
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/19/2008
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank H.T. Rhodes is President Emeritus of Cornell University. Winner of the Geological Society’s Bigsby Medal and the Ian Campbell Medal from the Geological Society of America, Rhodes has served as Chairman of the National Science Board, President of the American Philosophical Society, and Chairman of the American Council on Education and also the American Association of Universities. His other books include The Evolution of Life, Geology, Evolution, Fossils, and The Creation of the Future, as well as many articles on geology, higher education, and the history of science.

Richard O. Stone (1920–78) was Chairman of the Department of Geological Sciences, UCLA. A past member of several honorary societies, Dr Stone wrote many technical articles for Geological Society of America, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, and American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers.

Bruce D. Malamud is a Reader in Natural and Environmental Hazards at King’s College, London. A past Peace Corps volunteer in Niger and Fulbright Fellow in Argentina, he currently serves as Chief Editor of Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics and President of the Natural Hazards Division of the European Geosciences Union. He has over forty publications in the international scientific literature, including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Geophysical Research, and Earth & Planetary Science Letters.

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Table of Contents


Preface from the first edition.

Acknowledgments from the first edition.

Part I: The Earth Experienced.

1. Eyewitness Accounts of Earth Events.

1.1. John McPhee: Los Angeles Against the Mountains.

1.2. Gordon Gaskill: The Night the Mountain Fell.

1.3. R.G. McConnell and R.W. Brock: The Turtle Mountain Slide.

1.4. Voltaire: Candide.

1.5. James R. Newman: The Lisbon Earthquake.

1.6. Mary Austin: The Temblor.

1.7. Jonathan Weiner: The Alaskan Good Friday Earthquake.

1.8. Francis P. Shepard: Tsunami.

1.9. Haroun Tazieff: Not a Very Sensible Place for a Stroll.

1.10. Fairfax Downey: Last Days of St Pierre.

1.11. Hans Cloos: Beacons on the Passage Out.

1.12. Jon Thorlakson: Eruption of the Öraefajökull, 1727.

2. Exploration.

2.1. Charles Darwin: The Voyage of the Beagle.

2.2. Simon Winchester: The Map that Changed the World.

2.3. John Wesley Powell: The Exploration of the Colorado River.

2.4. William H. Brewer: Mono Lake–Aurora–Sonora Pass.

2.5. George F. Sternberg: Thrills in Fossil Hunting.

2.6. John E. Pfeiffer: The Creative Explosion.

2.7. George Gaylord Simpson: Attending Marvels: a Patagonian Journal.

2.8. Robert D. Ballard: Explorations.

2.9. Louise B. Young: The Blue Planet.

3. Geologists are also Human.

3.1. Stephen Drury: Stepping Stones.

3.2. Elizabeth O.B. Gordon: William Buckland.

3.3. Hugh Miller: The Old Red Sandstone.

3.4. Sir Archibald Geikie: A Long Life’s Work.

3.5. Frank H.T. Rhodes: Life, Time, and Darwin.

3.6. R.A. Bartlett: King’s Formative Years.

3.7. M.E. David: With Shackleton in the Antarctic.

3.8. William H. Goetzmann: The Great Diamond Hoax.

3.9. Luna B. Leopold, Paul D. Komar, and Vance Haynes: Sand, Wind, and War.

3.10. Hans Cloos: Ship’s Wake.

4. Celebrities.

4.1. H. Stommel: Benjamin Franklin and the Gulf Stream.

4.2. Thomas Clements: Leonardo da Vinci as a Geologist.

4.3. R. Magnus: Mineralogy, Geology, Meteorology.

4.4. E.T. Martin: Megalonyx, Mammoth, and Mother Earth.

4.5. William A. Stanley: Three Short, Happy Months.

4.6. W.G. Collingwood: Mountain-Worship.

4.7. Herbert C. Hoover: Stanford University, 1891–1895.

Part II: Interpreting the Earth.

5. Philosophy.

5.1. James Hutton: Concerning the System of the Earth, its Duration and Stability.

5.2. T.C. Chamberlin: The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses.

5.3. George G. Simpson: Historical Science.

5.4. Stephen Jay Gould: What is a Species?.

5.5. Christine Turner: Messages in Stone.

5.6. Marcia G. Bjørnerud: Natural Science, Natural Resources, and the Nature of Nature.

5.7. Ian Stewart: Does God Play Dice?.

6. The Fossil Record.

6.1. Frank H.T. Rhodes: Earth and Man.

6.2. Donald Culross Peattie: Flowering Earth.

6.3. Robert Claiborne: Habits and Habitats.

6.4. James A. Michener: Diplodocus, the Dinosaur.

6.5. Berton Roueché: A Window on the Oligocene.

6.6. Samantha Weinberg: A Fish Caught in Time.

6.7. Richard E. Leakey: Ape-like Ancestors.

6.8. Loren Eiseley: The Relic Men.

7. Geotectonics.

7.1. James A. Michener: From the Boundless Deep & the Birth of the Rockies.

7.2. Anna Grayson: When Pigs Ruled the Earth.

7.3. David Attenborough: The Living Planet.

7.4. William Glen: The Road to Jaramillo.

7.5. J. Tuzo Wilson: Mao’s Almanac: 3,000 years of Killer Earthquakes.

7.6. Richard H. Jahns: Geologic Jeopardy.

8. Controversies.

8.1. William Irvine: Apes, Angels, and Victorians.

8.2. William L. Straus, Jr.: The Great Piltdown Hoax.

8.3. Howard S. Miller: Fossils and Free Enterprisers.

8.4. Charles Officer and Jake Page: The K-T Extinction.

8.5. Sir Archibald Geikie: The Founders of Geology.

8.6. Don E. Wilhelms: To a Rocky Moon.

8.7. Edward Schreiber and Orson L. Anderson: Properties and Composition of Lunar Materials: Earth Analogies.

8.8. Joel L. Swerdlow: CFCs.

Part III: Language of the Earth.

9. Prose.

9.1. Isak Dinesen: Out of Africa.

9.2. T.E. Lawrence: Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

9.3. Ernest Hemingway: Green Hills of Africa.

9.4. Antoine de St Exupéry: Wind, Sand and Stars.

9.5. John Fowles: The French Lieutenant’s Woman.

9.6. John Muir: Trip to the Middle and North Forks of San Joaquin River.

9.7. Mark Twain: Roughing It.

9.8. Thomas Fairchild Sherman: A Place on the Glacial Till.

9.9. John McPhee: Basin and Range.

9.10. John Darnton: Neanderthal.

9.11. Kim Stanley Robinson: Antarctica.

9.12. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Lost World.

10. Poetry.

10.1. Sir Archibald Geikie: Landscape and Literature.

10.2. William Wordsworth: The Excursion.

10.3. Voltaire: The Lisbon Earthquake.

10.4. C.S. Rafinesque: The Fountains of the Earth.

10.5. Timothy A. Conrad: To a Trilobite.

10.6. A.E. Housman: A Shropshire Lad.

10.7. Andrew C. Lawson: Mente et Malleo.

10.8. John Stuart Blackie: Selected poems.

10.9. Kenneth Rexroth: Lyell’s Hypothesis Again.

10.10. A.R. Ammons: Selected poems.

10.11. Charles Simic: Stone.

10.12. J.T. Barbarese: Fossils.

10.13. Jane Hirshfield: Rock.

10.14. W. Scott McLean, Eldridge M. Moores, and David A. Robertson: Poetry Matters: Gary Snyder.

10.15. The Book of Job: Where Shall Wisdom be Found?.

11. Art.

11.1. Jacquetta Hawkes: A Land: Sculpture.

11.2. Jack Burnham: Beyond Modern Sculpture.

11.3. Elizabeth C. Childs: Time’s Profile: John Wesley Powell, Art, and Geology at the Grand Canyon.

11.4. R.A. Bartlett: Thomas Moran: American Landscape Painter.

11.5. Diane Ackerman: Earth Calling.

Part IV: The Crowded Planet.

12. Human History.

12.1. John D. Ridge: Minerals and World History.

12.2. Jacquetta Hawkes: A Land: Architecture.

12.3. Donald F. Eschman and Melvin G. Marcus: The Geologic and Topographic Setting of Cities.

12.4. Douglas W. Johnson: Topography and Strategy in the War.

12.5. John McPhee: Geology and Crime.

12.6. Kenneth E.F. Watt: Tambora and Krakatau.

12.7. Lord Ritchie-Calder: Mortgaging the Old Homestead.

12.8. Harlow Shapley: Breathing the Future and the Past.

13. Resources.

13.1. Rachel L. Carson: Wealth from the Salt Seas.

13.2. Charles F. Park, Jr: Minerals, People, and the Future.

13.3. M. Dane Picard: The Bingham Canyon Pit.

13.4. John G.C.M. Fuller: The Geological Attitude.

13.5. Michel T. Halbouty: Geology – for Human Needs.

14. Benevolent Planet.

14.1. James Lovelock: GAIA.

14.2. Fritjof Capra: The Web of Life.

14.3. Charles Morgan: Remember the Land.

14.4. Gabriele Kass-Simon: Rachel Carson: The Idea of Environment.

14.5. Rachel Carson: Silent Spring.

14.6. S. George Philander: Who is El Niño?.

14.7. National Research Council: Essay on the Earth Sciences.

14.8. Diana Ackerman: The Round Walls of Home.

14.9. Ernest Zebrowski, Jr: The Butterfly Effect.

14.10. Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot.



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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2008

    Outstanding collection of writings about the earth

    This literary anthology of writings to do with the earth is really fun to read and is well organized. All the excerpts (from current and past authors) have something to do with the earth. There are many 'earth writings' subjects including natural disasters, the beauty of the earth, earth's resources, philosophies about the earth (Gaia, fractals), etc. The authors the editors chose range from thousands of years ago to present, and include many recognized literary authors, but also mystery writers, science fiction writers, and a wide range of others that I didn't even realize had parts of their writing that were so passionate about the earth. Many authors I knew already, but was glad to read again (and will go to look them up, to read them more completely) and others I did not know, and found the new exposure great. Each excerpt is introduced with a quick to read 'paragraph' putting the author's excerpt into context (normally I find these boring, but here they were fairly interesting), and larger introductions, prose in themselves, for each chapter, and the major sections. With over one hundred authors represented here, in well organized categories, I've enjoyed this as bedtime reading.

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