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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.
©2013 Elizabeth Kolbert (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Regina on 04-28-14

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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65 of 66 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Male Perspective on 02-24-14

Better than expected! Great Book!

Any additional comments?

I found out about this book from a public radio station interview with the author. The concept sounded interesting but was unsure from the interview what to expect. This book was superb from start to finish, it was well laid out and extremely interesting to listen to. I was expecting another typical presentation of the global warming and the gloom and doom that usually goes with it. I have always believed that global warming was over hyped as a human cause and more of a just a cycle of the earth and the solar system going through its cycles. This book is more about the disruption that humans cause in the natural cycle of the earth eco systems and how those changes effect the possible future of the earth and it inhabitance. The author takes you on trip around the world to different place and provides evidence to support the title of her book. I think what made this book so good for me was that it written like a story being told by this person that took a journey and came back to share what they experience. There were not a bunch of scientific terms to wade through or uncommon words that authors sometimes used to make themselves seem more intelligent. This author get's her message across and when you finished you go...WOW! I also enjoyed the narrator as well, her voice was very pleasant and allowed you to enjoy the story!

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51 of 54 people found this review helpful

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