The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us (Signed Book)

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Overview

As Diane Ackerman writes in her brilliant new book, The Human Age, "our relationship with nature has changed…radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable."
Ackerman is justly celebrated for her unique insight into the natural world and our place in it. In this landmark book, she confronts the unprecedented reality that one prodigiously intelligent and meddlesome creature, ...
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The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us

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Overview

As Diane Ackerman writes in her brilliant new book, The Human Age, "our relationship with nature has changed…radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad. Our new epoch is laced with invention. Our mistakes are legion, but our talent is immeasurable."
Ackerman is justly celebrated for her unique insight into the natural world and our place in it. In this landmark book, she confronts the unprecedented reality that one prodigiously intelligent and meddlesome creature, Homo sapiens, is now the dominant force shaping the future of planet Earth.
Humans have "subdued 75 percent of the land surface, concocted a wizardry of industrial and medical marvels, strung lights all across the darkness." We tinker with nature at every opportunity; we garden the planet with our preferred species of plants and animals, many of them invasive; and we have even altered the climate, threatening our own extinction. Yet we reckon with our own destructive capabilities in extraordinary acts of hope-filled creativity: we collect the DNA of vanishing species in a "frozen ark," equip orangutans with iPads, and create wearable technologies and synthetic species that might one day outsmart us. With her distinctive gift for making scientific discovery intelligible to the layperson, Ackerman takes us on an exhilarating journey through our new reality, introducing us to many of the people and ideas now creating—perhaps saving—our future and that of our fellow creatures.A beguiling, optimistic engagement with the changes affecting every part of our lives, The Human Age is a wise and beautiful book that will astound, delight, and inform intelligent life for a long time to come.
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Editorial Reviews

Lawrence Weschler
“With this stirringly vivid, darkbright manifesto, Diane Ackerman summons us to the wager of sheer possibility: life against death, delight still (if only just barely) trouncing despair.”
Terry Tempest Williams
“The Human Age allows us to consider whether or not we will accept destruction or restoration as our legacy. I cannot imagine a richer text of image and insight, rendered with grace, intelligence and stamina.”
Jonathan Weiner
“Diane Ackerman writes with brilliance, zest, and high style. In a difficult time, we need to hear this voice of human affirmation. It's important. It matters. I read The Human Age and thought, Yes! This is the way to look ahead.”
Jared Diamond
“Diane Ackerman’s vivid writing, inexhaustible stock of insights, and unquenchable optimism have established her as a national treasure, and as one of our great authors. You’re now about to become addicted to Diane Ackerman.”
Siddhartha Mukherjee
“In this amazingly illuminating book, Diane Ackerman explains our future with her typically intoxicating blend of scholarship, wisdom, grace and humor.”
Library Journal
04/15/2014
Distinguished naturalist/poet Ackerman argues that "our relationship with nature has changed…radically, irreversibly, but by no means all for the bad."
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-07-10
A shimmering narrative about how the human and natural worlds coexist, coadapt and interactively thrive.Prolific essayist and naturalist Ackerman (One Hundred Names for Love, 2011, etc.) offers absorbing commentary on both the positive and negative effects of human consumption and innovation on the Earth. We are an ever increasing population of “nomads with restless minds,” she writes, and her well-researched, substantiated observances take us from the outer reaches of space to view the world’s sprawling cities to the Toronto zoo, where the Orangutan Outreach initiative “Apps for Apes” improves the lives and expands the perceptions of primates whose population is declining. Humans have become “powerful agents of planetary change,” she writes, creating wildly fluctuating weather patterns and irreversible global warming, evidenced in our backyards and in the stratosphere and reflected in the migratory patterns of the animal world. Thankfully, Ackerman’s ecological forecast isn’t completely bleak; hope springs from fieldwork with geologists studying the fossilized record of the “Anthropocene” (the age of human-ecological impact), tech scientists creating bioengineered body organs from 3-D prints, and a French botanist whose research demonstrates the ability to “reconcile nature and man to a much greater degree” by rebalancing the delicate ecosystems damaged by invasive species. Ackerman optimistically presents innovations in “climate farming,” the exploding popularity of rooftop farming and the urban-landscaped oasis of Manhattan’s High Line. She also examines European attempts to harness everything from body heat to wind energy. Ackerman is less certain about the longevity of the animal world or the true charm of the robotic revolution, but whether debating the moral paradoxes of lab chimeras or the mating rituals of fruit flies, she’s a consummate professional with immense intelligence and infectious charm.Through compelling and meditative prose, Ackerman delivers top-notch insight on the contemporary human condition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393247565
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/10/2014
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Ackerman
Diane Ackerman has been the finalist for the
Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction in addition to many other awards and recognitions for her work, which include the best-selling The Zookeeper’s Wife and A Natural History of the Senses. She lives with her husband Paul West in Ithaca, New York.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2015

    From fertilizers changing the weather to the extinction of snail

    From fertilizers changing the weather to the extinction of snails, Diane Ackerman explores the impacts human civilization has had on Earth and on life as we know it. The thing I enjoyed most about this book was how involved Ackerman was in her topics. If there was something that she wanted to write about, Ackerman would go out and search for the best information. She would talk with professionals and spend time getting involved herself. Because of this, the book itself felt like a journey with Ackerman to seek out knowledge of humanity’s impact.
    Ackerman didn’t just stop at what humans have done, though. She explored the things that humans are doing and will do in the future. Many of these were fascinating technologies and ideas I had never heard of before like 3D printing organs and growing all of an area’s necessary food in a single vertical garden. While it’s clear that human development has negatively impacted many other species over time, these new technologies shed some optimism on the situation, showing that technologies like vertical farming could benefit all species and not just humans.
    While each chapter seemed to tell a story, I only wish that Ackerman could have made better connections between some chapters. She often stopped mentioning a chapter or idea after it had been discussed, dropping it as if it stood alone. I feel that Ackerman could have made the book more interesting by exploring how these ideas might relate to one another or even work together. For example, she could have drawn more connections between the Blue Revolution (mariculture’s future in vertical farms) and the idea that human concentrations are now becoming more concentrated. After all, vertical farms could work well with urban populations since they produce a good amount of food while taking up little land. Despite this, there is a certain message in the diversity and disconnect between the book’s chapters. If anything, this shows that there is no single way that humans have impacted or will continue to impact the planet. Likewise, there is no single way that Earth will respond.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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