THE BOOK OF THE EARTH by A.C.- Ed. Spectorsky


Email this review


This is the fourth in a series of anthologies which variously explore the literature of Sea, Mountains, Sky- and now Earth. The refreshing thing about each volume is the unguessed element in the sources plumbed, the originality of selection- never hackneyed, the pungent commentaries that introduce the sections- and, within those sections, they do open further windows on the contributors and their writings. This is as true in The Book of the Earth as in its predecessors- and that in itself is a pleasant surprise, for one might have expected this book to be earthbound. But there's plenty of excitement and adventure in man's explorations of jungle, polar regions, cores of volcanoes, depths of canyons. Earth in turn has taken its toll and challenged man in flood and earthquake, dust storm and landslide. The jungles creep on us; weeds take over; desert reclaims the land; bogs absorb it. The wonders of the earth have challenged scientists; -- geologists, zoologists, anthropologists, speleologists, archaeologists. And yet only the topmost crust of the lithosphere has been penetrated. Men have squandered the earth, stolen it, shifted it; greed has destroyed -- and earth has answered back. The mystery and the wonder are still there, though men live and work on the earth, mystics ponder its secrets, scientists explore it. We are fortunate in the scientists who share their findings, and the editor has tapped rich veins here,- Beebe Haldane, Rachel Carson, Jacquetta Hawke, von Humboldt, W. H. Hudson, Archie Carr and others. The classic writers have written on the earth, and Homer, Victor Hugo, Tolstoi appear here. Contemporary writers have been captured by the call of the earth- George Stewart, Pearl Buck, John Steinbeck, Conrad Richter, William Saroyan, and many others. Even the humorists have not been bypassed,- Frank Sullivan, Don Marquis (in a different vein), Mark Twain. Here's a collection, held together by a thread of central thought, that contains some of the best of literature.

Publisher: Appleton-Century-Crofts