Encyclopedia of Earth

Original English Cover

German Cover

English Cover



Michael Allaby (Author), Robert Coenraads (Author), Stephen Hutchinson (Author), Karen McGhee (Author), John O'Byrne (Author), Ken Rubin (Author)

This sumptuously illustrated, beautifully written encyclopedia, the best book available on the topic, presents the most up-to-date information about planet Earth in a style and format that will appeal to an extremely wide range of readers. With thousands of photographs, illustrations, diagrams, and maps and a text written by a team of international experts, it presents an impressive overview of our globe—beginning with the history of the universe and ending with today's conservation issues. A truly spectacular reference, The Encyclopedia of Earth offers new visual interpretations of many ideas, concepts, and facts, painting a fascinating picture of Earth today and across the ages. The encyclopedia is divided into six sections that are designed for either browsing or in-depth study. Birth gives an overview of Earth's 4.6-billion-year history, including the evolution of life. Fire explains the inner workings of our dynamic planet, its structure, and the tectonic forces that have molded its landscape. Land surveys rocks, minerals, and habitats. Air covers weather, including extreme weather events such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Water tours the oceans, rivers, and lakes of the world. The final section, Humans, provides a compelling portrait of our relationship with Earth, and of how the natural world has shaped social and political developments. The Encyclopedia of Earth features:

* Some of the world's finest landscape photography and hundreds of detailed illustrations and diagrams, cross sections, cutaways, maps, and charts

* Coverage of topics including volcanology, paleontology, geology, natural history, cosmology, and more

* Simple, easy-to-understand explanations of complex phenomena

* The most recent scientific information and conservation data

* "Fact files" providing information at readers' fingertips

* "Heritage Watch" boxes focusing on key conservation issues and World Heritage sites

University of California Press (Co=publisher Weldon Owen)

University of California Press http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520254718#

When I first got my reviewers copy of the Encyclopedia of Earth, I thought, what a dumb idea, nobody uses encyclopedia anymore with Wikipedia or Google around. In fact, there already is an online version with the same name. Why bother? Then I opened it up and memories of my childhood flooded back, the hours spent poring over every page of the Life Science Library and the Golden Book encyclopedia that I loved, or the time spent in Eyewitness Books when my kids were little. It may be designed as a reference book, but it tells the story of our planet like a great novel.

It is divided into six sections covering Birth, or the formation of the planet and evolution of life; Fire covering tectonic forces, Land surveying rocks and minerals, Air- weather, Water- the oceans, lakes and rivers, and Humans, which after five sections building up an image what a wonderful world we have, describes how we are screwing it up, and finally what we can do to save it. That final chapter reads like an alphabet of woe, covering shortages in food, water, fish stocks, contaminated soil, polluted air, acid rain, melting ice and loss of diversity. But then it moves into conservation, beyond fossil fuels, cleaner and greener transportation and saving the soil. It concludes "There is still time to halt the ecological calamity that appears to be unfolding across the earth. However, hope comes with a caveat that crosses cultural, ethnic, political and spiritual boundaries. To salvage Earth the human species will need to communicate and cooperate globally like never before." -wishful thinking, given that a big part of the United States won't buy this book because it includes both Charles Darwin and Al Gore. Authors Michael Allaby, Robert Coenraads, Stephen Hutchinson, Karen McGhee, John O'Byrne and Ken Rubin and the University of California Press have not created a resource that is going to replace a single Google or Wikipedia search, which has replaced the conventional encyclopedia. They have, however, created the kind of book that anyone interested in the world around us could spend hours with. They have also made it cheap and accessible, only $39.95. On a price per pound, per word or per picture basis it is an extraordinary bargain; for the price of three thin volumes of a DK Eyewitness book you get the whole world. If you want to give a gift that doesn't need batteries, that will be treasured this season and for years to come, this is it. ::The Encyclopedia of Earth.


The "Encyclopedia of Earth" is terrific for all those interested in our planet's past and present, while developing an appreciation and awareness of what needs to be protected for the future of our home.

I loved the cover and each and every picture, which really did say more than the proverbial "thousand words." The paper quality was superb and the book is large enough to see details. The photography is simply outstanding, along with all of the diagrams and graphics. Every chapter and explanation was clear and concise. My 4 year-old grandson runs into my home and asks for the "Earth Book." His favorite sections/topics are Volcanos and Lightening, which he is able to explain in his terms, as he looks at each picture. He has learned to turn each page carefully and sometimes uses a magnifying glass to look more closely at creatures both above and below the earth and seas. I feel as though I am standing at the very place on earth of the photographs, actually looking through the camera's lense. This book will be in my living room and serve as a treasured addition to my library. I would recommend The Encylopedia of Earth to readers as a reference book, however, The Encyclopedia is so informative, exciting and creative, that readers will return to it many times in the future. Reader Rating Five Stars.

Racoates Posted February 9, 2009 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-encyclopedia-of-earth-michael-allaby/1111973376?ean=9780520254718

From School Library Journal Grade 9 Up—Encyclopedia is an overview of Earth from its birth to the effects of human habitation, related by explaining physical processes and providing short explanations of specific examples worldwide.

Chapters are heavily illustrated spreads, which include—given the book's focus on physical mechanisms—many labeled diagrams. The text covers such a vast number of features that it only provides a little information about each one, but the book will work well as a visual guide, its intended use. Though there is plenty here for high school students, some of the terms reflect the volume's scholarly origins and they are not always included in the glossary. Timeless Earth covers three categories of remarkable locations-"The Natural World," "Human Culture," and "The Modern World." These sections are further subdivided into chapters such as "Ancient Civilizations" and "Eastern Empires" in "Human Culture." Each entry covers a spread and consists mostly of well-captioned visuals. These are complemented by a box detailing the feature's country and its significance and a short, clearly written discussion (somewhat overlapping Encyclopedia) of natural formation, construction, or artistic creation. These visual treats are solid guides to further research. Encyclopedia will find uses in history and social studies classes, while Timeless Earth will work best for earth science students.

Henrietta Thornton-Verma, School Library Journal

Visually stunning, The Encyclopedia of Earth: A Complete Visual Guide is a user-friendly guide to the science and history of the earth.

With discussions of global warming and the environment increasing every day, this title could not have arrived at a better time. It presents a comprehensive overview of the earth, both past and present, that will engage a wide range of readers. Written by a team of international experts, entries are divided into six thematic sections, “Birth,” “Fire,” “Land,” “Air,” “Water,” and “Humans,” that present concepts and ideas about our relationship with, and our effect on, the earth. Each section begins with an introductory essay that breaks down often-complex concepts into easy-to-understand explanations. Two- to four-page entries on topics such as Climate zones, Food shortage, Hurricanes, and Undersea vents feature sidebars for quick reference and short paragraphs of general information. Scattered throughout are “insight” essays that provide supplemental, often historical information, with time lines. Although the text is useful and well written, what really shine are the illustrations, including breathtaking photographs of the earth and hundreds of detailed diagrams, maps, charts, and cutaways, all offering visual representations of complex ideas and facts. This affordable title is a fine contribution to the subject. Although an extensive glossary and index are available, there is no bibliography, so those seeking a more in-depth study of the subject will have to look elsewhere. Recommended for high-school, public, and undergraduate libraries. --Asia Gross Review


“The reference book for the planet, complete with thousands of photographs, illustrations, diagrams and maps.”

(Science News 2006-08-16)

“For anyone keen to understand the many interwoven elements of Earth science. . . it offers an essential, and gorgeous, baseline.”

(Seed Magazine 2008-09-01)

“Lavishly illustrated and easily accessible.”

(Library Journal 2008-11-01)

“The amount of far-flung material stuffed into this book is staggering.”

(Washington Post Book World 2008-01-04)

“Encyclopedia will find uses in history and social studies classes.”

(School Library Journal 2008-12-01)

Miami Herald 2008-11-30

“Absolutely stunning. . . . A wonderful introduction to many of the processes that shape our planet and, by extension, us.”

(Civil Engineering 2008-12-01)

“Proves that reference books don’t have to be drab or prohibitively pricey.”

(Geotimes Magazine 2008-12-01)

“Digestible and easy to track down, thanks to the index (aardvark to Zu, the Akkadian god of storms and darkness).”

(Seattle Times 2008-12-07)

“Sublimely comprehensible and aesthetically well-organized.”

(Foreword 2009-02-01)

“Visually stunning. . . . Could not have arrived at a better time.”

(Booklist 2009-02-12)

“This gorgeously illustrated guide to Earth is useful and absorbing. . . . An excellent guide for the shelf of any student.”

(The Ledger 2008-12-07; Jackson Citizen Patriot 2008-12-14; Bulletin 2009-12-07; Times Record News 2009-12-07; Miami Herald 2009-12-10; The Tribune 2009-12-15)

“Full of beautiful color photos (1700 total). . . plus charts, illustrations, cross-sections, and cutaways, this book truly offers something for everyone.”

(Curious Parents-Delaware Valley 2008-11-01)

“Covering topics as varied as volcanology, paleontology, geology and cosmology, [this book] is...designed for either browsing or in-depth study.”

(Columbus Parent 2009-06-10)

“A fascinating compendium of Earth facts.”

(Alaska Airlines Mag 2008-10-01)

“This wonderful book can take you all around the world with a flip of a page.”

(Nashville Parent Magazine 2008-10-01)

“This wonderful book can take you all around the world with a flip of a page.”

(Williamson Parent 2008-10-01)

“1,700 photographs. . . take readers from Tanzania’s Serengeti Plain to Qaanaaq, Greenland (the world’s most northerly town).”

(Washington Parent 2008-12-01)

Anybody who’s curious about the world . . . . will find this a fascinating tome to dip into over and over.

(Los Angeles Times 2008-12-14)

"Geology is a science of great beauty," states Walter Alvarez (Univ. of California, Berkeley) in his introduction to this visually stunning work.

Written by Allaby (author of four volumes in the "Biomes of the Weather" series) and noted geoscience academics and writers from around the world, this lavishly illustrated and easily accessible tome introduces readers to the mysterious and complex process that has shaped our world. In six sections-appropriately named "Birth," "Fire," "Land," "Air," "Water," and "Humans"-we are given a cinematic view covering everything from the earth's stellar origins to our role in its feared demise. While the text of the articles is lucid and informative, it's also quite sparse. The adage about the worth of a picture helps to keep this work to a single volume. Regular "Fact file" sidebars identify geographic superlatives and also include numerous graphs and charts as well as detailed views of events, processes, and even organisms. Several two-page sections provide a decidedly human perspective by focusing on topics such as theories of evolution, the historical use of precious metals and gems, and historical meteorology. BOTTOM LINE McGraw-Hill's Concise Encyclopedia of Earth Science lacks the holistic approach of this work but appears to be more focused on the myriad geoscience disciplines. Like all single-volume encyclopedias, this one sacrifices depth for breadth-a problem alleviated by the inclusion of over 1900 illustrations and 1000 maps. A list of further readings, perhaps arranged thematically at the end of each article or chapter, would have greatly enhanced the book's profile as a primer. Recommended for public libraries. [Available in print only.]-Daniel Sifton, Cariboo Regional Dist. Lib., Williams Lake, B.C. ISBN: 9780520254718, EAN: 9780520254718 Publisher: University of California Press. Publication Date: September, 2008


About the Authors

Michael Allaby is author of A Change in the Weather, A Chronology of Weather, and four volumes of the Biomes of the Weather series.

Robert Coenraads, a leading gemologist, geologist, and geophysicist, is a lecturer at the Gemmological Association of Australia.

Stephen Hutchinson is Senior Research Fellow at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom.

Karen McGhee, a science writer and journalist, is a consulting author of the best-selling Encyclopedia of Animals (UC Press).

John O'Byrne is Senior Lecturer and Director of Academic Programs at the University of Sydney School of Physics.

Ken Rubin is Professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Hawaii and at the Hawaii Center for Volcanology.