The Sixth Extinction

  • by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Narrated by Anne Twomey
  • 9 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A major audiobook about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes.
Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef.
She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Lifts you out of the ordinary

I tend not to listen to serious or difficult books, because those I want to hold in my hands and underline the key points to help me absorb them. This is certainly a serious book, but Elizabeth Kolbert is such a clean, clear writer her story flows as easily as it engages.

It's not a doom and gloom book either, at least not entirely, although doom is certainly in the works for many, many species, thanks to our stewardship of our shared planet. What can we do? Answering that question is not Kolbert's task. What she does is lay out in rich and compelling detail the story of what happened across millions of years on earth and what is happening now to animals on earth with us.

Some books I like disappear from mind fairly quickly. This one is staying with me. Highly recommended. Good narrator. She's low key, which is just right. Emotional would make listening impossible.
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- Regina

Be annoyed at what she says, not how she says it

I'm just commenting on the narration here, because it seems the consensus is that this is a great book and I agree. All aspects of it . Some listeners seem to have let the narrator's delivery ruin their experience with this title though. She's soft-spoken, and maybe from the influence of other listeners' reviews, I was thinking at first that I didn't like it either, that the effect was more suited to a storybook. But I kept listening, and after a while I realized it was fine. Really, just let it go, let the woman speak. She enunciates clearly and on an even keel, and I ended up appreciating everything about the book (well, considering the subject matter, almost everything). I just finished a book where the narrator kept saying "climactic" when they meant "climatic," and vice versa. Now *that* was annoying. If you make up your mind her delivery is going to bother you, then it will, but it doesn't have to. Try to just enjoy this book and I think you will.
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- Jack Doe

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-11-2014
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio