Apocalyptic Planet by Craig Childs

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The earth has died many times, and it always comes back looking different. In an exhilarating, surprising exploration of our planet, Craig Childs takes readers on a firsthand journey through apocalypse, touching the truth behind the speculation. Apocalyptic Planet is a combination of science and adventure that reveals the ways in which our world is constantly moving toward its end and how we can change our place within the cycles and episodes that rule it.

In this riveting narrative, Childs makes clear that ours is not a stable planet, that it is prone to sudden, violent natural disasters and extremes of climate. Alternate futures, many not so pretty, are constantly waiting in the wings. Childs refutes the idea of an apocalyptic end to the earth and finds clues to its more inevitable end in some of the most physically challenging places on the globe. He travels from the deserts of Chile, the driest in the world, to the genetic wasteland of central Iowa to the site of the drowned land bridge of the Bering Sea, uncovering the micro-cataclysms that predict the macro: forthcoming ice ages, super-volcanoes, and the conclusion of planetary life cycles. Childs delivers a sensual feast in his descriptions of the natural world and a bounty of unequivocal science that provides us with an unprecedented understanding of our future.

Advanced Praise for Apocalyptic Planet:

“Craig Childs walking on the desert or climbing a mountain is like a gourmand at a sumptuous feast: the sensual delight with which he relishes the world around him gives the rest of us a vicarious thrill, even hunger….It is impossible to read Craig Childs and see the world in the same way again.”—Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish and the upcoming The Universe Within

“A mesmerizing and provocative look at our ever-changing, ‘everending’ planet . . . . Childs’s lively writing reveals awesome, otherworldly landscapes.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Childs traveled the world to destinations both exceptional and mundane seeking clues to what life will be like in the future on our increasingly unstable planet. Ruminating on our distant past and present changes, he blends climate science, natural history, literary references, and personal reflections to create an immensely evocative sense of time and place . . . . An engaging exploration of the land beneath us and the sixth mass extinction that scientists agree is underway. Always curious, Childs went out in the world to learn ‘in the presence of apocalypse,’ taking readers along for the intriguing ride.”

“Childs aims to experience the apocalypse first hand . . . . Gripping descriptions of deteriorating ecosystems that may soon require less travel and perhaps none at all for readers to experience.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Craig Childs takes an Edward Abbey-esque journey across our rapidly changing globe. Apocalyptic Planet is lyrical, informative, and full of surprises.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe

“An elegant and absorbing account of just how violently the earth can change—this is a very good book to read as we start to watch global warming provide a new shock on this scale.”Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet