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Comprehensively mistitled but worth considering for its unusual angles, or at least as a replacement for the previous...

A view of human history from the Big Bang to experimental lab-grown meat.

With this volume, Lloyd seemingly revises and updates What on Earth Happened? Brief (2009) into a rushed survey vaguely positioned as “a gateway to all the knowledge in the world.” It’s a narrow gateway, for all its substantial heft. The author is more or less through with the cosmos, geology, and biology by Page 75 and on to modern humans—beginning with the invention of cooking, a “gigantic breakthrough” in human development. He goes on to a tally of civilizations that’s less Eurocentric than many, although he pays at best scant attention to the Indian subcontinent or to Indigenous North America, not to mention anyone’s art, music, or literature. Moreover, his narrative is so telescoped that World War I is finished off in three paragraphs, and he gets from the space race to SpaceX in two. Still, he does carry his story up to Black Lives Matter, concludes by pointing to absolutism and income inequality as issues to watch, and finishes with an optimistic note that we humans are “superadapters” in a world whose true paradigm is adaptation to change. Reinforcing the panoramic feel, many of the colorful photos, images, and, from Forshaw, diversely hued and clad figures from various eras that brighten nearly every page seem to be marching into or out of view along the edges.

Comprehensively mistitled but worth considering for its unusual angles, or at least as a replacement for the previous edition. (glossary and index not seen) (Nonfiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-999-8028-3-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: What on Earth Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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The author of The Snake Scientist (not reviewed) takes the reader along on another adventure, this time to the Bay of Bengal, between India and Bangladesh to the Sundarbans Tiger Preserve in search of man-eating tigers. Beware, he cautions, “Your study subject might be trying to eat you!” The first-person narrative is full of helpful warnings: watch out for the estuarine crocodiles, “the most deadly crocodiles in the world” and the nine different kinds of dangerous sharks, and the poisonous sea snakes, more deadly than the cobra. Interspersed are stories of the people who live in and around the tiger preserve, information on the ecology of the mangrove swamp, myths and legends, and true life accounts of man-eating tigers. (Fortunately, these tigers don’t eat women or children.) The author is clearly on the side of the tigers as she states: “Even if you added up all the people that sick tigers were forced to eat, you wouldn’t get close to the number of tigers killed by people.” She introduces ideas as to why Sundarbans tigers eat so many people, including the theory, “When they attack people, perhaps they are trying to protect the land that they own. And maybe, as the ancient legend says, the tiger really is watching over the forest—for everyone’s benefit.” There are color photographs on every page, showing the landscape, people, and a variety of animals encountered, though glimpses of the tigers are fleeting. The author concludes with some statistics on tigers, information on organizations working to protect them, and a brief bibliography and index. The dramatic cover photo of the tiger will attract readers, and the lively prose will keep them engaged. An appealing science adventure. (Nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-07704-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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In this glossy photo essay, the author briefly recounts the study and exploration of the moon, beginning with Stonehenge and concluding with the 1998–99 unmanned probe, Lunar Prospector. Most of the dramatic photographs come from NASA and will introduce a new generation of space enthusiasts to the past missions of Project Mercury, Gemini, and most especially the moon missions, Apollo 1–17. There are plenty of photographs of various astronauts in space capsules, space suits, and walking on the moon. Sometimes photographs are superimposed one on another, making it difficult to read. For example, one photograph shows the command module Columbia as photographed from the lunar module and an insert shows the 15-layer space suit and gear Neil Armstrong would wear for moonwalking. That’s a lot to process on one page. Still, the awesome images of footprints on the moon, raising the American flag, and earthrise from the moon, cannot help but raise shivers. The author concludes with a timeline of exploration, Web sites, recommended books, and picture credits. For NASA memorabilia collectors, end papers show the Apollo space badges for missions 11–17. Useful for replacing aging space titles. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-57091-408-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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