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.
In Apocalyptic Planet 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.
"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 of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
"A mesmerizing and provocative look at our ever-changing, "everending" planet [...] Childs's lively writing reveals awesome, otherworldy landscapes."
- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"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."
"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
"It is impossible to read Craig Childs and see the world in the same way again."
- Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish
"Childs 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 [...] intriguing."
"Apocalyptic Planet looks at our ever-changing world to find refreshing and eye-popping insights in the most unlikely places [...] 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. You just want to turn over that rock he sees, move dust to expose an ancient artifact, or scale the cave wall in front of him. Childs delights in the details of the rock, sand, and ice, and in them he finds stories as large as the planet itself. In his hands, the main casualty of apocalypse is our familiar view of Earth: it is impossible to read Childs and see the world in the same way again."
- Neil Shubin, Amazon.com guest review