Earth's Deep History

How It Was Discovered and Why It Matters

Martin J. S. Rudwick

Earth's Deep History
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Martin J. S. Rudwick

392 pages | 90 halftones, 5 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226203935 Will Publish October 2014
E-book $18.00 ISBN: 9780226204093 Will Publish October 2014
Earth has been witness to mammoths and dinosaurs, global ice ages, continents colliding or splitting apart, comets and asteroids crashing catastrophically to the surface, as well as the birth of humans who are curious to understand it all. But how was it discovered? How was the evidence for it collected and interpreted? And what kinds of people have sought to reconstruct this past that no human witnessed or recorded? In this sweeping and magisterial book, Martin J. S. Rudwick, the premier historian of the earth sciences, tells the gripping human story of the gradual realization that the Earth’s history has not only been unimaginably long but also astonishingly eventful.
 
Rudwick begins in the seventeenth century with Archbishop James Ussher, who famously dated the creation of the cosmos to 4004 BC. His narrative then turns to the crucial period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when inquisitive intellectuals, who came to call themselves “geologists,” began to interpret rocks and fossils, mountains and volcanoes, as natural archives of Earth’s history. He then shows how this geological evidence was used—and is still being used—to reconstruct a history of the Earth that is as varied and unpredictable as human history itself. Along the way, Rudwick defies the popular view of this story as a conflict between science and religion and reveals that the modern scientific account of the Earth’s deep history retains strong roots in Judaeo-Christian ideas. 
 
Extensively illustrated, Earth’s Deep History is an engaging and impressive capstone to Rudwick’s distinguished career.  Though the story of the Earth is inconceivable in length, Rudwick moves with grace from the earliest imaginings of our planet’s deep past to today’s scientific discoveries, proving that this is a tale at once timeless and timely.
Simon Conway Morris, University of Cambridge
“This is a gem of a book, representing a distillation of a lifetime’s achievement and providing not only a thrilling tour d’horizon but also providing a gripping historical framework that shows how we all stand on the shoulders of giants.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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