The Story of Earth

  • by Robert M. Hazen
  • Narrated by Walter Dixon
  • 9 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Earth evolves. From first atom to molecule, mineral to magma, granite crust to single cell to verdant living landscape, ours is a planet constantly in flux. In this radical new approach to Earth’s biography, senior Carnegie Institution researcher and national best-selling author Robert M. Hazen reveals how the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere - of rocks and living matter - has shaped our planet into the only one of its kind in the Solar System, if not the entire cosmos.
With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s passion for the ground beneath our feet, Hazen explains how changes on an atomic level translate into dramatic shifts in Earth’s makeup over its 4.567 billion year existence. He calls upon a flurry of recent discoveries to portray our planet’s many iterations in vivid detail - from its fast-rotating infancy when the Sun rose every 5 hours and the Moon filled 250 times more sky than it does now, to its sea-bathed youth, before the first continents arose; from the Great Oxidation Event that turned the land red, to the globe-altering volcanism that may have been the true killer of the dinosaurs. Through Hazen’s theory of “co-evolution,” we learn how reactions between organic molecules and rock crystals may have generated Earth’s first organisms, which in turn are responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties on the planet - thousands of different kinds of crystals that could not exist in a nonliving world.
The Story of Earth is also the story of the pioneering men and women behind the sciences. Listeners will meet black-market meteorite hawkers of the Sahara Desert, the gun-toting Feds who guarded the Apollo missions’ lunar dust, and the World War II Navy officer whose super-pressurized “bomb” - recycled from military hardware - first simulated the molten rock of Earth’s mantle. As a mentor to a new generation of scientists, Hazen introduces the intrepid young explorers whose dispatches from Earth’s harshest landscapes will revolutionize geology.
Celebrated by The New York Times for writing “with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along,” Hazen proves a brilliant and entertaining guide on this grand tour of our planet inside and out. Lucid, controversial, and intellectually bracing, The Story of Earth is popular science of the highest order.


What the Critics Say

“A fascinating new theory on the Earth’s origins written in a sparkling style with many personal touches. . . . Hazen offers startling evidence that ‘Earth’s living and nonliving spheres’ have co-evolved over the past four billion years.” (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Makes minerals interesting

It takes a mineral expert to understand the development of earth. I'm not a mineral expert and I don't play one on TV, but after listening to this book I feel like I'm a geologist in training.

I didn't think it was possible. The author makes minerals and its science interesting. He has an over arching theory that's best summarized as "the origin of (mineral) species".

For those of you who have a pet theory and have a deep understanding of the subject you'll probably find many things to criticize about this book and you'd probably be right. Either your theory is not covered at all or he doesn't cover it in the way you believe. Give the author a break, he's covering over 4 1/2 billion years of history.

I'll be awaiting further shows on Discovery covering this same topic, and maybe this time I'll be able to follow them.

I bought this book on the Kindle when it first came out, because I didn't think there was going to be an audio version. I had read 2/3 of the book on the Kindle and listened to the last 1/3 of the book on audible. The reader really made the book better. He has a way of making what he's reading as exciting as the subject matter deserves. I probably would not have finished the kindle, I much prefer to listen. Good book and even better listen.
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- Gary "l'enfer c'est les autres"

Please learn how to pronouce the words!

What did you love best about The Story of Earth?

Marvelous information/story, well told. I love the organization into chapters: blue planet, grey planet, black planet, and so forth. Geology was not dumbed down but very accessible.

Would you be willing to try another one of Walter Dixon’s performances?

His voice and intonations are wonderful, but it was very very disconcerting that he absolutely butchered the pronunciation of many of the geological terms. Planetesimals, isostacy, many others. If you are going to perform a geology book, wouldn't you want to be sure how to pronounce the words first?

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


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- dana

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-23-2012
  • Publisher: Gildan Media, LLC