The Ends of the World

Pages: 336
Subject: Science
Imprint: Oneworld
Illustrations: 8-page colour plate section

The Ends of the World

Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions

Peter Brannen

Five times our world has stood on the brink of Armageddon - it's been incinerated, frozen, drained, flooded and smothered by poison gas. We are very lucky to be alive...
Hardback
9781786070074 (7 Sep 2017)
RRP £18.99

The Book

Five times our world has stood on the brink of Armageddon. It's been scorched, frozen, poison-gassed, smothered and pelted by asteroids. We are very lucky to be alive…

Over the past decade there has been a revolution in our understanding of global apocalypses. Armed with new technology, scientists have uncovered a myriad of clues in the fossil record about what caused these catastrophes - a record rife with weird and wonderful creatures like dragonflies the size of seagulls and fishes with guillotines for mouths. Diving into deep time, The Ends of the World reveals how these near extinctions gave rise to our modern world and gives us a terrifying glimpse of what may lie ahead.

Additional Information

Subject Science
Pages 336
Imprint Oneworld
Illustrations 8-page colour plate section

 

About the Author

Peter Brannen is an award-winning science journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, Wired, New York Times, Washington Post and Slate, amongst other publications. You can follow him on Twitter @PeterBrannen1. He lives in Boston.

Reviews

'Fascinating.'

- Economist

‘A book about one apocalypse - much less five - could have been a daunting read, were it not for the wit, lyricism, and clarity that Peter Brannen brings to every page. He is a storyteller at the height of his powers, and he has found a story worth telling.'

- Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes

‘An exciting detective story venturing into the extraordinary worlds of our Earth's past to discover what caused them to end. Brannen describes unimaginable floods, planet-scale catastrophes and incredible creatures that were once common. A cautionary tale for the future of our human age.'

- Gaia Vince, author of Adventures in the Anthropocene

‘Urgent, compelling and beautifully written, Peter Brannen brings immense geological timescales sharply into focus, forcing us to reflect on humanity's brief but potent impact on the planet through the lens of deep time. Whether through fascination with the ancient past or grim fear for our future, The Ends of the Worlds is essential reading.'

- Kat Arney, science writer and broadcaster

‘If readers have time for only one book on the subject, this wonderfully written, well-balanced, and intricately researched (though not too dense) selection is the one to choose.'

- Library Journal, starred review

‘A vivid, fascinating story about all the past and future lives of our planet. Peter Brannen has the knack of opening up new worlds under our feet.'

- Michael Pye, author of The Edge of the World

‘History repeats itself, the first time as a tragedy, the second as farce. Human history, that is. But the history of life on planet Earth only ever repeats as tragedy, as Peter Brannen explains in this powerful and unsettling book. The Ends of the World recounts the breath-taking stories of the five mass extinctions that have punctuated and diverted the course of evolution. Its vertiginous sense of the awful fragility of living things will never leave you, not least because humanity may now be writing the ultimate end of Brannen's riveting tale.'

- Stephen Curry, professor of structural biology, Imperial College

‘Want to know the future? Look to the past, the deep past. That's one of the many insights you'll glean from reading Brannen's entertaining, engaging, elegant book.'

- David Biello, author of The Unnatural World

‘Much-needed as a cautionary lesson and a hopeful demonstration of how life on Earth keeps rebounding from destruction.'

- Booklist

'A simultaneously enlightening and cautionary tale of the deep history of our planet and the possible future, when conscious life may become extinct…. Entertaining and informative on the geological record and the researchers who study it. [Brannen] provides a useful addition to the popular literature on climate change.'

- Kirkus Reviews

‘Robert Frost only gave us two options to end the world: fire or ice. Peter Brannen informs us in this fun rollick through deep history that there are so many more interesting ways to go.'

- Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish